Lakers/Jazz Preview: When The Lakers Have The Ball

Kurt —  April 18, 2009

NBA: FEB 26 Suns at Lakers
The name of the game in the NBA is to create and exploit mismatches. That’s one thing the triangle offense does well, put guys in good positions and force the defense to adjust, then have counters for those moves. When the Lakers have the offense flowing — getting the ball to the mismatch and counterpunching the reaction — you see a high number of assists.

The Lakers have mismatches all over the place to exploit in this series. If they are smart, they should score plenty.

That starts inside in the paint. Mehmet Okur cannot keep Andrew Bynum off the low block or alter his shot in close, and Pau Gasol has a huge size advantage inside. We saw this some in the last regular season meeting between these two. When isolated, Boozer (especially a hobbled Boozer) was virtually helpless on Gasol. There are members of the Jazz — AK-47 — that love to come from the weak-side and block shots — Gasol and Bynum need to be aware and be ready to give up the ball.

The other big problem for the Jazz is at the two — Ronnie Brewer cannot slow Kobe Bryant. In the first two games this season against the Jazz, he averaged 38 points a game. Again, the Jazz can do things to bring help, but that leaves other players open if the Lakers share the ball.

Darius laid these two points out in his assessment:

We punish them inside with Gasol and Bynum and let Kobe create off the dribble. This will generate plenty of offense for everyone as we’ll get inside looks and open jumpers against collapsing helpers for our shooters. Kobe must attack, but I think he will do that more against the Jazz because they actually don’t have players that stay with him well when he drives (in stark contrast to a team like Boston or Houston or a defender like Posey). We saw Kobe drive (in the last game against Utah) and he’s done it against Utah for as long as I can remember…Brewer, Miles, AK, none of these guys impede his dribble enough to stop him from getting into the lane and they don’t have a shot blocker (besides AK who will either be guarding him or rotating off of a shooter or a slashing big) to bother him. In that last game Doug Collins said Boozer had SIX blocks all season! Kobe knows this and will attack accordingly. Basically, I think all we have to do is run our sets and we’ll get easy looks. Plus, like last night, we can always go to the P&R where Utah loves to overhelp on Kobe coming off the screen so that two passes later we have a wide open jumper in the corner and Kobe has a hockey assist.

The other things the Lakers can do — particularly the bench — is get easy baskets in transition. The Jazz are a disciplined team that will try to get back, but if Lamar Odom gets the rebound he should be able to push the ball up and the Lakers can get some transition baskets. The Lakers should — should — hold or extend the lead when the bench is on the floor.

Bottom line, the Lakers do not need to do much of anything different than they normally do, just run the offense, and they should be able to score enough to win.



114 responses to Lakers/Jazz Preview: When The Lakers Have The Ball

  1. This is a tremendous Boston-Chicago game. Rose and Rondo battling feels like a vision of something important we’ll see in the future.

  2. I see the refs are tired of Chicago leading and have moved to address the situation…

  3. Not watching the game, but from the box score it surprises me that Gordon’s played more than Hinrich. Hinrich could do a number on Allen defensively and Gordon isn’t giving them much on the other end.

    Could anyone break down the Rose/Rondo matchup? Is it essentially both getting into the paint at will?

  4. Gordon is doing a great job on Allen by himself.

    It’s pretty much all about Rose though. He has no ceiling.

  5. “Could anyone break down the Rose/Rondo matchup? Is it essentially both getting into the paint at will?”

    More or less, but Rose’s finishing ability is off the charts. Rondo has made a few impressive layups himself, but Rose is throwing in off-balance floaters over multiple defenders like it’s nothing. Also, he is hitting most of his open jumpers when the Celtics go under the screens.

  6. I hope someone is watching the celtics -bull game…rose is unbelievable …to think this is his first playoff game…good lord

  7. Who said that Rose would win a series by himself?

    32 points, 4 rebounds, 8 assists for Rose, perfect at the line.

    This kid is special.

    And Snoopy, he’s getting into the lane at will.

  8. I don’t understand why KG didn’t come out for the second half. At the very least he could have gotten down on all fours and barked at Derek Rose, right?

  9. 6

    The amazing thing for me is that he lasted until half-time.

  10. 7/j.d. – Awesome.

  11. My last post was directed at j.d. hastings.

  12. I really think Del Negro should go back to Ty Thomas for Miller. Miller’s been doing a good job on D and on the glass, but he’s killing the Bulls on offense. His lack of shooting touch and inability to finish inside is making every offensive possession where Rose and Gordon give him the ball a lost chance.

  13. Ray Allen is starting this year’s playoffs the same way as last year’s. He has been brutal!

  14. Ben Gordon is CLUTCH today.

  15. But for the fact that they’re going in, Ben Gordon’s shot selection has been kind of awful…

  16. Shot selection has never been Ben Gordon’s strong suit…

  17. Hahaha, Gordon, “Shot… selection? What does that mean?”

  18. 17

    In Gordon’s case it means selecting a shot as opposed to a pass.

  19. Rose ties Kareem for the most points ever by a rookie in his playoff debut. Incredible.

  20. Can we replace the rest of the Bulls-Celtics series with six 1-on-1 games between rondo and rose?

  21. What a horrible foul by Noah. Dumb, dumb, dumb decision.


  23. What was Noah thinking on that play?

    Lucky for him Pierce missed the second. OT!!!!

    What a game.

  24. Rose will be something really special 3, 4 years. Heck, he’s special now, imagine him with a consistent jumpshot and 3-pointer.

    I’m rooting for Rose to break record for most points by a rookie in a first playoff game.

  25. I mentally caused that ball to miss because I wanted to see OT so badly. I love the playoffs, man. This is my favorite weekend of the year.

  26. Good lord, this game is silly netertaining. I can’t believe Pierce missed that Free Throw. Houston, we have Overtime. Go Bulls!!

  27. Has Rose taken a shot yet in OT? \

  28. Tyrus Thomas?? Really? Is this happening?

  29. Can anyone explain what Doc Rivers is thinking playing Glen Davis 40+ minutes and Leon Powe 16 (!) ?

  30. CAN I GET A DOT??!

  31. Wow, Rose just Fouled out.

  32. that should be Bulls’s ball.

  33. Doesn’t matter. NBA got lucky.

  34. AND THAT’S THE GAME. Wow. Go bulls.

  35. Derek Rose looks bored.

  36. Sigh. Something tells me Cavs- Detroit won’t be anywhere near as good.

  37. J.D.- Actually, Pistons not getting blown out…yet. I’d be shocked if they keep it close, at the very least.

  38. My chant for the day, “One and done, one and done, one and done”.

  39. Pierce is going to need his wheelchair after that performance. Easy to see them losing the series if he and Allen are going to play like that.

  40. I have to say.. as much as i would like to see a rematch in the finals.. and crush Boston. It would be almost as sweet to watch them lose in the first round. Go Bulls!

  41. I don’t want to say I told you so about the Bulls, but…..

    I can’t believe I had to miss the end of that to be at the Pro/Celeb race at the Long Beach Grand Prix.

  42. Miami Heat Redux?

    Wasn’t it Chicago who sent them fishing as well?

  43. Talk about a coming out party for Rose, my goodness.

  44. Kurt – If it makes you feel any better, I missed the entire thing. Does anyone know if this will be replayed on ESPN later tonight?

  45. 42, 45, if it’s any consolation, that game is going to be on espn classic and nbatv for years to come.

    Cavs starting to pull away.

  46. What a terrible job by the refs.. So blatantly favoring the Celtics – just ridiculous. Still Pierce and Allen can’t get it done even with Bennett Salvatore’s best effort.

  47. j. d. hastings April 18, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    If I had no foreknowledge and saw Mike Brown talking, I’d think he worked for NASA, not the nba. He’s kind of dorky.

  48. j. d. hastings April 18, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    48- I bet celtics fans still claim they were robbed by the refs

  49. j. d. hastings April 18, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Case in point, celticsblog has 2 bullet points complaining about officiating.

  50. Remember how lost the Bulls looked at the beginning of the season. Everyone was calling for Del Negro’s head, but they played well down the stretch. I still wonder why they don’t play a more up and down game with their athletic bigs and Rose at the point, but I guess Del Negro has them playing the way he wants…and it’s working.

  51. If the Celtic fans are complaining about the refs in this game, they need to get swept in the 1st round – only fair for fans like that.

  52. Derrick Rose will be the best PG in the league in two years. His performance was masterful, obliterating Rondo, one of the best defensive guards in the league. His combination of strength, skill, poise, decision-making, shooting, speed, and composure just cannot be compared. Bennett Salvatore tried so hard to give the Celtics the game, but Rose just wouldn’t let him. Amazing; I am in complete awe.

  53. d rose, my goodness! much respect to him putting up 36 pts, 10+ assists, and 12-12 on FT’s in his rookie debut in the playoffs. especially the last 2 FT’s he knocked down in the clutch down by 1. and against the best defensive team in the league? and while doing it at the most intimidating place to play?? wow. he definitely is special.

    just hoping we don’t face that type of performance tomorrow with d will…

  54. Great game by the Bulls! Rose is a stud!

    By the way, I’m a season ticket holder and unfortunately I will not be able to go to all the playoff games this year. I just got word that I have to travel for work a lot this month so I”m unable to attend most games. If anyone is interested in purchasing my tickets and would like to be added to my distribution list, shoot me an email at I have 4 tickets in Section 115, row 7, seats 15-18 (20 rows from court facing Lakers bench behind the basket).

    I do have tickets for Game 1 and 2 vs. Utah but I only have one pair left for Sunday’s game and one pair left for Tuesday’s game.

    Don’t mean to solicit on your blog Kurt, but I’d prefer to sell my tickets to fellow passionate FB&G family members (i’ve been following this blog for 3 years now and feel like I’m party of the fam).

  55. Zephid, dang… I can see Rose right up there but CP3 and Deron are doing some amazing things plus Hall will be in the league in 3 years. I’m with Rose being ranked with the best PGs in the league in 3 years and that this NBA Golden Age will be giving the 80’s a serious run for it’s money, in part, on the backs of what can be argued to be an unprecedented crop of PGs in the league.

    CP3, Williams, Rondo, Rose, Ellis, Russ-0, Conley, Harris plus Hall and Rubio coming soon… and I am sure I am missing somebody with Nash and Kidd both nearing the end but still hanging around. PG’s abound my friends.

  56. j.d. hastings – The funniest thing about it is the comments section. One logical Celtics fan made the point that they were ignoring the calls made in favor of the Celts, and all the other Celts fans jumped on him like cannibals. I think one even said he wasn’t a Celts fan, apparently for not whining about the refs. Vicious.

  57. Actually Celtics without Garnett aren’t that good defensively. For my money they were favourites only because of the HCA. Losing Garnett is HUGE.

    OTOH did they tell Ainge the _real_ final score?
    – Danny, your Celtics have won by 20, too bad you couldn’t watch them on TV.

  58. 50, CP3 was in his 3rd year when he went to his first playoff game and dropped 38 on the Mavs’ heads. Derrick Rose is a rookie, keep that in mind. He dropped 36 and 11 on one of the best defensive teams in the league. The entire Boston team knew he was coming, and they still couldn’t stop him. He beat down arguably the best defensive PG in the league. And he hasn’t even really asserted himself. Imagine next year when he’s full of swagger, the same way Kevin Durant was this year. He’s going to blow everyone else away

  59. Zephid, I don’t know that comparing how quickly a player makes the playoffs is a consistent measure of a player’s greatness, even if it is informative. Chicago has a good amount of talent besides Rose and it was interesting to see that talent come together since the trade with Sac.

    Someone made the point that Boston isn’t quite the defense it would be with Garnut in the line-up and I would argue they still weren’t as good a D as last year. Posey gave that team a vast number of beneficial match-ups that they no longer have.

    None of this is to take away from what was an amazing performance by Rose and a great win by Chicago but I feel I need more information before I can say one great player is better then another great player. Hell, I’m still not convinced that Jordan is the G.O.A.T. what with Wilt, Russell and a few other players around to make their own claims to that title.

  60. Wow. Lebron is a man on a mission.

  61. After watching that Bulls/Celtics game, I feel like something important just happened.

    Rose is more amazing than I could have imagined. I shudder to think what he will be like with a 3 point shot. Thank god he plays in the east.

  62. The way the offensive game is being called these days (traveling, hand checking, palming, etc.), and the amount of real talent coming into the league, I expect we will soon get to the 140 : 138 games rather frequently in the next few years.

  63. 50 I think you are missing tony parker from your list

  64. 50&64 – What about Farmar? (kidding)

  65. @65.
    Way to hate on the dude.

  66. San Antonio is definitely a shadow of its former self. Dallas’ guards, especially J.J. Barea were penetrating at will and Dampier and Bass were controlling the offensive glass. Duncan and Parker can’t carry them on the offensive end either — one of their role players has to step up.

    And Houston with the early 11-2 lead and nine of those points coming from Yao. He’s going to be unstoppable in this series — he thrives against big, slow centers and that’s exactly what Przybilla and Oden are.

  67. Wow these two teams are playing at an extremely high level. Some great offensive execution in the face of solid defense, especially Roy. Battier played picture perfect defense on the last one, Roy just forced it in. And Yao has been absolutely unstoppable so far.

    I can’t decide what I want more for the Blazers – have them be a one-and-done, or have them make it so we can play them and get this rivalry officially re-started.

  68. Brooks is quite impressive. Not just on the offensive end, but he’s very quick defensively. Not solid fundamentals yet, but on a team with Battier I’m sure he’ll learn. He could be a real defensive pest a la Devin Harris very soon.

  69. Sorry for the triple post but I had to say this:

    Dwight Howard is an absolute fool.

  70. wow, they’re calling fouls on the blazers?

  71. 70 – About 90 seconds into the game, NBA officials found several Blazermaniacs sharpening spears in the tunnel that the refs take at halftime. The referees decided it would be wiser to pacify the home crowd instead of actually call the game fairly.

    The Blazers home court is disturbingly frightening. They might give us serious fits if they bring their A-game.

  72. Looking at the two of them, who would you guess was older, Mutumbo or Oden? Isn’t Mutumbo something like 58 now?

    On a more serious note – so far, other than Roy, the Blazers look like they are a little tight. If not for Roy, this game might be over already.

    Can Yao sustain his energy for the full 48?

  73. This is what a lot of people don’t seem to realise about Portland: their defense is mediocre at best. For some reason I keep reading that they’re a good defensive team, but it just looks that way on the surface because they play at such a slow pace. Houston is just lighting them up from outside, and they have no answer for Yao in the middle.

  74. Brooks is absolutely dominating Blake – the dropoff when Lowry comes in to run the offense is remarkable.

    when the refs stop calling the touch fouls for the Blazers they struggle to score.

  75. 75

    Yeah, Blake struggles with quick guards and Brooks is as quick as they come.

    Aldridge needs to wake up fast or Portland is going fishing.

  76. lol when Garnett or Kobe or someone else sits quietly before a game, they’re “locking in” or “focusing.” When Yao does it, he’s “meditating.”

    He should have kung fu’d Bucher’s a-….tail.

  77. Avery Johnson: “The clam chowder’s going to be cold after the game today.”

    Avery…why do you speak?

  78. 77

    What did Bucher ask him? As soon as I heard his first question I put the TV on mute. Sideline reporters are generally a waste of time to me and Bucher in particular comes up with the lamest questions.

  79. It has already been mentioned that Houston matches up very well with Portland. But X’s and O’s wise, we’re seeing a couple of things that lead to that success:

    1) Even though Portland is a great team offensively (1st or 2nd in efficiency the entire season), they do it at a very slow pace. This means that Yao is not running wind sprints for 4 quarters trying to change ends from offense to defense. This allows Houston’s D to get set, and as we’ve seen over the years from the Rockets they are a beastly defensive team when they get set.

    2) The Blazers run a ton of screen and roll. Now normally, putting Yao in the P&R and making him defend can be a good way to attack the Rockets. However, Yao is never going to be guarding an offensive threat on the P&R. This makes his job so much easier as he can focus on really helping on the guard and not worrying about Joel or Oden rolling to hoop. This means that if the Blazers run the P&R they either have to do it with Aldridge (who is not as good a screener as Joel or Oden) but it also allows Yao to rarely leave the paint on D. And as we’ve seen, it’s pretty difficult to score with a 7’6″ guy defending the rim. (On a side note, this is why our P&R – with Gasol/Bynum rolling – will give the Rockets problems. You’ve got Kobe and a skilled finishing big rolling/popping and it’s a tough cover. Also our faster pace is something that can wear down Yao over course of a game/series).

  80. Cayucos Surfer April 18, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    It’s official (according to ESPN). LeBron is the new basketball god. All who are worthy must bow down.

    OK, just kidding. But really.. the Cavs beat the pistons (39-43), at home, in Game 1. And ESPN is already crowning him. Props to LeBron, he is an insane athlete and an incredible player. I just find this love-fest a little too much.

  81. ESPN has been crowning LeBron since he was in high school. You can’t expect them to stop now when he’s playing at the level he is.

  82. Go Houston go!

  83. Joel,
    Bucher asked him what he was thinking about pregame when he saw him “meditating” during some quiet time to himself. Yao said that he was thinking about his family – parents, wife – and the game and everything that is important to him. He said that he wanted to come out and play a good game for all of those people/things that mean the most. Classic introspective stuff from Ming.

  84. Scola’s quicker defensively than I gave him credit for.

    The more Lebron love, the better. I want Kobe furious and determined to make a point.

    Joel – I can’t remember word for word, but Bucher essentially asked something like “Before the game, Yao, you sat alone for 10 minutes and…looked like you were meditating. What was the point of that?” or maybe he asked “Did that have an effect on you?” Something like that I think.

  85. Sportswriters confuse me. Why does Peter May compare Derrick Rose to an overweight British king? (;_ylt=AoCxb0425moiKGtzRFzwlBC8vLYF?slug=ys-rosebulls041809&prov=yhoo&type=lgns)

    Darius is right – Bucher did ask Yao what he was thinking about.

  86. Thanks Darius.

  87. Coming into this game, I had huge questions about the Rockets’ offense. I am truly shocked. They are getting scoring from sources I never imagined. Brooks going off. Scola, driving from the top of the key, spinning, reversing, and laying it in? Wow. I don’t know if they can keep this up, but if they can get this much non-Yao offense without relying on Artest’s awful shot selection, that’d make them very hard to beat.

  88. Cayucos Surfer April 18, 2009 at 9:39 pm


    True. Broussard just sounds like a 13 year old girl with a crush. We get it.. He’s good! Maybe let him get past the first round before we declare him GOAT.

    and WOW.. Houston is just steamrolling Portland. I must say i did not see this coming.

  89. You’ve got to hand to Portland’s fans: down 26 in the 4th quarter, and everyone’s still in their seats and into the game.

  90. What are the Blazer fans chanting?

  91. I think all this LeBron fest is about bragging rights. Everyone wants to say that they ‘knew it right at the beginning’ and nobody wants to get caught doubting the inevitable. So a lot of the things that are being said have base, but it’s still a bit overblown.

    Bulls irritate me. They give you hope, and then boom, they’re doormats the next season. Then boom, they make noise the next postseason. What’s up with that?

  92. Man Oden is powerful. He’s been moving Mutombo underneath the basket Shaq-style all game long.

  93. Joel R – I was thinking the same thing. They’re borderline psychotic, but I respect how passionate they are. I wish we could outlaw Hollywood from Staples and give our boys a true home court advantage.

  94. 98-67 Houston last I looked.

  95. The Blazers dancers looked GLUM going into that last TV timeout.

  96. Aaron Brooks is unstoppable right now. Not just scoring, but distributing. As an under 6-foot person myself, I would like to take this opportunity to laugh in the virtual faces of all the pundits, talking heads, and GMs who said Brooks would never amount to much because of his height.

    Oden has very little polish, but his strength is mind-boggling. He’s like Shaq without the skills. With that kind of power, all he needs is 1 or 2 go-to offensive moves to really give the league trouble. But I do think the extra weight slows him down on his help defense.

  97. @91 I think they were chanting “These refs sucks.”

  98. Having Motumbo in the post season really helps Houston. It keeps the “big man” presence intact for the entire game.

  99. Brian Cook sighting!

  100. There are two visiting wins, and two home wins today: Lakers beware!

    The Jazz are coming to town to steal the Lakers home court advantage.

  101. I am shocked, and hurt, and shocked. Okay, I am not hurt but I am disappointed that the Blazers are going down like this in game one. I’m not about to lay down the Rest In Peace to Rip City but dang. Game two better be interesting for all our sakes.

  102. Brent Barry! Throwin’ it down like it’s 96 again..

  103. I just saw the Bulls-Celts highlights. Now I know why people around here were cursing Joakim Noah. That wasn’t even a normal foul. It was like he had suddenly remembered Rivers had paid him off before the game and had to run to fix things. I’ve rarely seen a play that blatantly stupid in a clutch situation.

    I’m glad Rose didn’t break Kareem’s record.

  104. After Day 1, my Cleveland in 4 and Houston in 6 picks look pretty safe, but I must say my San Antonio in 5 and Boston in 5 picks look lost. The magnitude of Chicago holding a lead in Boston and beating Boston in overtime cannot be described.

  105. As much as I like this portland team, I hope this game shuts up their fans a bit and show them the light.

    Not that I think they’re going to get swept or blown out hereonafter, but there’s a reason why even the geekiest of the stat geeks like Hollinger value stuff like playoff experience.

  106. The Dude Abides April 18, 2009 at 11:49 pm

    I bet the Laker coaching staff is going to use the three out of four road victories today as a motivating tool before tomorrow’s game.

    I was very happy on Wednesday to see there would be a Houston-Portland matchup, as I much prefer to see the Rockets in the second round, and they OWN the Blazers. They would have swept them this season if not for Roy’s miracle three at the buzzer in Portland. There is a bad matchup for Portland at every position. Brooks-Blake, Yao-Vanilla Gorilla, Scola-Aldridge, and Battier/Artest on Roy.

  107. No roses blooming at the rose garden.

    There was a Rose that bloomed in Chicago, however.

  108. Did you see the welcome the Blazers received before the playoffs started?

    It looked like the team had already won the Finals. The way the Blazers executed tonight it looked like their fans’ expectations finally caught up to the players’ psyche.

    We always hear about getting your feet wet before you swim. This series should be a perfect example of it. Isn’t it funny how axioms and old wive’s saying usually ring true?

  109. PeanutButterSpread April 19, 2009 at 1:49 am

    I totally didn’t see the Bulls or the Houston Rockets winning tonight. WOW is all I can say. Dallas winning though, I saw that coming. It’s really unfortunate that the Spurs loss Ginobli, I respect the Spurs franchise tremendously.

    As much as I’m excited for the Dallas, Houston, and Bulls “upset” wins tonight, I really hope the Lakers take that to note and realize having HCA isn’t going to be a cake-walk. Utah will definitely take those wins as inspiration and bring their A game for sure.

    Did anyone find it really funny that the Portland/Houston game kept showing the ad for the Lakers vs. Jazz game on the media table with LAKERS in like big letters? That’s like adding insult to injury. Not only did the fans have to endure a beat down, but they had to stare at the Lakers sign the entire game lol

  110. Wow. What a great way to start the Playoffs.

    Celtics fans are Tommy Heinsohn clones. Whiny babies who call Laker fans excuse makers. Every loss is the refs fault.

    I am upset I missed Derrick Rose.

    It’s amusing to me that the Blazes got blownout in their 1st Playoff game. Experience is a huge factor. How much? So much so that they were crushed by the one team that CAN’T get out of the 1st Round. Portland NEEDED homecourt advantage, and this game may have killed them mentally. They will be pressing next game, and if they lose next game, it’s a wrap.

  111. The Blazers were used to getting every ticky-tack foul call and getting away with every slight push in the back and forearm on the wings at home. Now when the playoffs roll around and the refs are all of a much higher standard, games are being called fairly in the Rose Garden, and both the players and the fans in Portland weren’t ready for that. Honestly, Portland is like the Boston of the West Coast.

  112. Game day chat thread up