No Luke Walton tonight (and maybe through the first couple games of the next round), which means more minutes and a bigger game is needed from Ariza.
Kobe was on fire early last game pulling up for the midrange jumper — the Jazz never really adjusted to that. They were willing to let him beat them that way so he did. I expect some kind of adjustment to that this game, Utah can’t risk the same outcome, but whether it is the early double team or ball denial defense, that should open things up for the ball to get inside. The Jazz still don’t have an answer for everything Gasol can do. And they don’t seem to care when Odom drives to the left, although they should.
On defense the Lakers probably had their best half in the second half of game four. They were much better and smarter at doubling Boozer before he started his move, and they did a much better job being aware of the cutters when help came on D-Will, Those things need to continue.
But by this point in the series, there are not a lot of secrets. Everyone knows what is supposed to happen, it’s a matter of exaction.
I know a lot of people want to see more Andrew Bynum tonight, to see him get in a rhythm before he gets a boost in responsibility next series (either Houston or Portland). The problem is, the Jazz have tried to counter the Lakers size advantage by going small at times. Putting Bynum out there in that situation — with his knee not 100% — could lead to bad outings and confidence issues. He needs to be in when he is in a place where he can succeed. Also, closing it out tonight means more rest for him (not likely the next round starts before the weekend).
For us fans, it’s hard not to look forward a little to the next series — and if you want to win tickets to game one of the next round check out the Lakers Nation Twitter contest. But we are going to hold off on that in the formal posts.
Hopefully for just one day.