Preview & Chat: The Utah Jazz

Kurt —  December 9, 2009

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Records: Lakers 16-3 (1st in West) Jazz 12-8 (5th in West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 108.7 (12th in league) Jazz 110.3 (6th in league)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 100 (3rd in league) Jazz 106.7 (17th in league)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Jazz: Deron Williams, Wesley Mathews, Ronnie Brewer, Carlos Boozer, Mehmet Okur

The Lakers Coming in: In case you missed the news: Kobe Bryant missed the Lakers shootaround this morning, unable to leave his house thanks to some armed gunmen in the development. But don’t worry, not even armed gunmen can keep him from a game.

The Lakers are finally getting some good tests, which is a good thing. The Lakers rose to the occasion against the Heat and Suns (well, barely against the Heat but we’ll take it), but these two games in the next four days against the Jazz, along with the upcoming road trip, are good things. Simply put, you can’t sharpen a knife against a soft sponge, you need a hard stone. The Lakers look good but not June good, they need to get sharper as the year goes on. They need this kind of competition.

On another note, there will be some changes in the Lakers broadcast booth for upcoming games. On the radio, Mychal Thompson will miss games because of the death of his mother, so Luke Walton will fill in. On the television side, Stu Lantz will be out from December 11-20to help his wife through a surgery, so “Hot” Rod Hundley (who played for the Lakers and was a color guy next to Chick Hearn many, many years ago) will fill in. Our best go out to Mychal and Stu, as well as their families.

By the way, did you know Hundley has his number retired as a Laker? He wore 33 in Los Angeles. Sure the jersey hanging in the rafters says Abdul-Jabbar over the name, but it’s Hundley’s number.

The Jazz Coming in: It’s snowing in Salt Lake City, so the Jazz may be happy to get away from that. But as they have lost a dozen straight games to the Lakers at Staples, they may not be that happy to be here. They are also very banged up — no Andrei Kirilenko (at least not expected to play), no Kyle Korver, no Ronnie Price, no Matt Harpring.

They still do have Deron Williams and Carlos Boozer, and those two are the heart of the Jazz now. Boozer gets overlooked in the discussion of the best power forwards in the league but he was on the Olympic team with good reason and he is having another good season — 21.2 points per game with a true shooting percentage of 61.6% and he is grabbing 18.7% of he available rebounds when he is on the floor. He can step out and hit the midrange (from 10 feet out he is taking about 7 shots a game and shooting 46.5%).

Then there is Deron Williams, one of the best point guards in the league. He can shoot — 34% from three and 52% from 16-feet out to the arc. He also can get to the rim. And he sees the floor well and passes beautifully — 9 assists per game, and 4 of those are guys at the rim, he is getting them easy baskets.

One other guy to watch off the bench a little is Eric Maynor, Williams backup. There is a lot of potential there. Maynor has struggled with his shot so far but I’ve seen him play and you have to like the way he runs the floor.

Blogs and links: Check out Salt City Hoops.

Keys to game: No team in the NBA executes its offense better than the Jazz. Everybody on the planet knows what they are going to do — it’s the same offense that Stockton and Malone ran. Yet the Jazz are sixth in the league in offensive efficiency because they execute it well.

The basic action of the offense is a pick near the elbow, something they run to either side of the floor. D-Will usually is the ball handler, and Boozer or sometimes Okur set the pick. D-Will makes it hard because he is smart and will go away from the pick if the defense commits too early, he will go through the pick then reset it and come back the other way, he can pull up for a midrange jumper or dive to the hoop. Boozer (and Okur) can both roll to the basket or pop out (Okur loves the pop). The other guys space the floor on the weak side well for catch-and-shoot chances, plus there are a lot of motions and cuts away from the ball, far more than most teams. It leads to a lot of back-door chances if teams fall asleep.

The Lakers defenders need to be disciplined — bigs need to show out and recover, guards have to fight through the picks fast, the weak-side defender needs to be ready for the roll to the hoop. Also, they sometimes throw the ball to Boozer at the elbow and he LOVES to go left. He can go right, but a quick move left is preferred and hard to stop because of his speed.

The Jazz have not been a good defensive team, and with AK-47 out they really lack a good shot blocker to protect the rim. The Lakers need to go at the rim, but they need to expect to get hit — the Jazz are physical inside. They foul a lot (25th most in the league per field goal attempt) but the refs become desensitized and a lot of calls are not made. A few Lakers players have a penchant for whining to the refs, not getting back on defense and losing focus. Drew, I’m looking at you. Keep your head in the game. Expect some bad calls and move on.

One other matchup advantage is that Wesley Mathews is going to have to cover Kobe or Artest — the Lakers should go at that.

Where you can watch: 7:30 start at Staples Center, you can choose between Fox Sports or 710 ESPN radio.



219 responses to Preview & Chat: The Utah Jazz

  1. this one’s for Warren!

  2. Question – I thought a recent Synergy study found that the Jazz were (despite reputation) one of the teams that used the PnR the least? Along with the Lakers?

  3. Utah seems to be on the rise and finally clicking after a very slow start (at least from box-score gazing).

    Our first test ever since we failed miserably against Denver earlier – this team is one of those teams that addresses and attacks our weaknesses.

    But I have a feeling that we’ll come out on top 😉

  4. Witness the inhuman drive that is the Bean:

    SN: Do you ever look back on your career, and think, “Did I really go through all of that, did that really happen to me?” Is it like a movie playing in your head?

    KB: (Laughs) You know, about a week ago … I don’t sleep much, but this one night I was in deep sleep, and I woke up sweating, and I was like, “Oh, man, I’ve got to win a ring!” But then I realized it was just a dream, and I breathed a sigh of relief … it was just a nightmare (laughs).

  5. Snoopy, I didn’t really do the Jazz offense credit with that description. I may tweak it a little. They run so many cuts and off the ball motions, and they have a lot of options out of that elbow sequence. So they probably don’t score that much out of the pick and roll in the classic sense. Sort of like the Lakers use that rub action, which serves the pick and roll purpose without being a pick and roll.

  6. Also, if you didn’t see this, Kobe missed morning shoot around because of armed gunmen in his gated community in Newport Beach, the cops had it secured.

  7. Hate to disagree kurt but I think boozer only goes left. Left handed layups, turnaround j drifting left. His only right handed move is a spin on the right block.

    The play I like best is where boozer does a baseline curl by going around picks set on right block. Pass caught near ft line and immediate pivot for dive left hand layup; unstoppable so far this year. Oh and memo shaves his pits for better aerodynamics.

  8. Whoa Kurt, any idea what those gunmen were doing?

  9. Just something that always amazes me, and is something to think about… DWill has never made an all star team!

    If you look at each individual season there are always various reasons why, with “better” players or more popular ones making it over him (Nash, CP3, TP, AI, Roy). However I still think its a load of crap.

    Maybe I’m forgetting how could Roy was last year, and yes he is a shooting guard, but maybe he should have been made to pay his dues a bit more, something that DWill has done twice over.

    Hope he gets in this year, he has deserved a selection for a while now!

  10. Yeah, the Jazz run a bunch of screen action off the ball (outside of their classic P&R sets). They probably screen more than any other team. They love that “UCLA” cut where the ball gets passed to the wing and the then the PG cuts off the big’s shoulder at the elbow and they run a ton of action off that initiation. They’ll hit a streaking Williams on the dive, Deron will fake the dive and then circle back to the top to receive the ball back so he can attack, Deron will fake the dive and then back screen the big at the elbow, Deron will dive => the ball gets passed to the big at the elbow => the wing that passes to the big will then screen for Deron who is sitting at the low block….there are just a ton of options on that play. The Jazz also love to screen across the lane with a guard screening for one of their bigs so he can come across the lane for an interior attempt.

    Then, after all those different types of screens, the Jazz go into some of their “flex” motion where it’s all about off ball reads where screens are slipped or the screener opens up and rolls to the basket or off regular P&R action the ball side wing slips back door as the defender that’s on him pays too much attention to Deron turning the corner. If any team is going to test the Lakers help principles, it’s going to be the Jazz as they methodically break you down and have built in counters to most defensive allignments. And on top of all that execution, they have Deron with the pill in his palm just looking to break you down with his repetoire of offensive brilliance.

    Also, I loved Eric Maynor coming out of the draft and I really want to see how he does.

  11. As impressive as the 9 game win streak is, I’ll be REALLY impressed if they get to 12 in a row, with 2 wins against the jazz, including in Salt Lake on a b2b. That would put the league on notice. But I don’t want to put too much stock in it. Theycould beat the jazz twice but give old friend Rambis a win as an early christmas gift.

  12. Kurt, Darius – Gotcha, that makes perfect sense. In my mind I did remember a lot of Williams running off the screen (without directly attacking to score) but I thought maybe I had the wrong perception and the stats were disproving that. But that makes sense now.

    Also, Dwight Howard is disgusting.;_ylt=AqsVfKkwhcz8dgzLI.kWogO8vLYF?urn=nba,207657

    Random underrated rookie: Ersan Ilyasova. The guy flat out knows how to play. Just a fierce player who has some ‘blue-collar attitude’ but with the skills of a high-level player. Definitely a guy to keep an eye on as a basketball fan.

    Darius – Just curious, did you pick up most of your X’s and O’s from playing or coaching basketball? Or is this all from watching the game? (Either way, very impressive).

  13. Bill Bridges, you are correct. I was writing fast off the top of my head and didn’t check my notes, you made me. And it says left. It’s corrected in the post. Thanks. And sadly, that error came while sober.

  14. One thing we did not see too much of last season because of their injury situation was the Jazz small lineup. Their 2nd unit features Boozer at C and Millsap at PF.

  15. I like this game since its one of our tests against bigs who can shoot from the outside.

    I remember in the houston game that David Andersen was killing us with perimeter shots. Something that Boozer and Okur could regularly take and hit.


    Oh by the way, Snoop2006 I don’t think Ersan Ilyasova is a rookie, I think he was playing in the Nba already 3 years ago and just came back after a Euroleague stint?

    He wasn’t exactly lighting it up at that time though. So this season is really a big improvement.

    Maybe we can do the same with Sasha and hope we get a fully repaired machine. 😛

  16. #12. Snoopy,
    I played organized hoops through high school and flirted with trying to play college ball but didn’t have enough tools in my box to compete at that high a level. I played point guard (as I’ve said before, Magic was and still is my favorite player ever). But, I grew up watching (and loving) the game and my understanding of the game was just kind of there. Even as a kid I was usually able to see the play develop (or at guess what was going to happen) and when I watched (and played) the game I always loved the action off the ball as much as what the ball handler was actually doing. When I was younger, I thought I might want to coach but that never came to fruition. Thanks for the kind words. And thanks (again) to Kurt as well because this is one of the few places where discussions like this can even happen and people actually care.

  17. the robbery in kobe’s neighborhood (good tv show name, eh) was 5 armed robbers going after a subprime loan biggy. an unreal occurrence in that neck of the woods. nicholas cage also lives there.

  18. Mico – you’re right on. The funny thing is I had written this in my post and then cut it out to shorten it: “I saw him a few years back and never thought he would end up being a rotation player in the NBA, he’s amazed me with his improvement. Marc Gasol-like.” Don’t know why even after that I think of him as a rookie. Probably because it’s his 1st year of impact after coming from Europe last year. Thanks for the catch.

  19. The latest issue of Slam magazine is a ‘How To’ issue, including a ‘How to watch a basketball game’ by Barkley.

    I haven’t read what he had to say yet, but was thinking that it would be amazing if Kurt and some of the other basketball minds here (Darius, Bill Bridges,Xavier to mention but a few) could piece together a ‘How to watch a (Lakers) basketball game’ feature for FB&G.

    I’ve personally learnt, and am still learning, so much through this site on the finer details of basketball and know that there is a lot of untapped knowledge still out there for us all to benefit from.

  20. 😀 Watching Lakers Live, they’re reminiscing about Chick. Both Bill Walton and Bill McDonald admit to getting under the covers and listening to Chick on the transistor radio when they were kids, after their parents had told them “go to bed, lights out.” The difference between them and me is that those two were listening to the 1960s Lakers and I started doing that in the magical 1971-72 season, so don’t any of you say I’m old, cuz this aggression will not stand, man.

  21. I missed the preview entirely. Thank you chris h for covering the warren-post! 🙂

    Darius, for the record, you’re one of the people here I’ve learned the most about basketball from, along with Kurt, Zephid, and The Dude. (Apologies to anyone who feels left out. Feel free to start posting extensive in-depth analyses of Laker games until I start noticing you. 😉 )

    That’s why I started following this blog, actually. Not only is it a place to talk about something I love–Lakers basketball–it is a place where I can bit by bit develop a deeper understanding of the game and as a result come to appreciate it even more. Keep posting!

  22. 9. JR, I’ve been voting for D-Will every day since balloting for the All-Star game opened. My West ballot has been Melo, Pau, D-Will, Kobe, and Andrew. You can vote here:

    21. Aww, Mimsy, those guys (and Gatinho and Bill Bridges) have more basketball knowledge in their pinky fingers than I do in my brain, but thanks 😀

  23. Dude how old are you? 50?!

  24. Dude, ugh, I could never vote for Melo. I vote for 4 Lakers (Kobe, Pau, LO and Drew) and Deron Williams.

  25. Link, anybody?

  26. Is anybody else having problems getting this on NBA league pass broadband? I pay yet when I click on Lakers game I get f#@%ing Spurs/Kings????

  27. These retro uniforms are giving me flashbacks of Darrel Griffith and his rainbow 3pters.

  28. My league pass is showing me the SA game…arrrggghhh

  29. anyone got a stream link?

  30. Wait a minute….why are the Lakers playing the Celtics tonight……..

  31. i didn’t know the lakers are playing the celtics. though i prefer this green over the leps.

  32. link??

  33. lakergirl,
    I have the same problem. League pass is messing up tonight.

  34. 23. Simonoid, you nihilist, I’m younger than that, man.

    24. Melo is an elite player, so most of the time I’ve been voting for him and Pau at forward, with the occasional Dirk instead of Melo.

  35., which is usually semi-reliable, is blocked atm. Try this – you might have to switch to full screen mode though:

  36. Dude, 45 then. Not buying any younger.


  37. i love gasol. thanks kwame.

  38. Evening everyone. Good omen for ball movement so far. 8 FG’s and 5 assists. Great ratio.

  39. Dude, I’m not disagreeing that he’s an elite player. I just can’t vote for him. It’s like voting for Stalin or Paul Pierce.

  40. 38. Simonoid, you nihilist, I’m older than that, man.

  41. Chris H, thanks bud!

    Those green uni’s are ugly!

  42. Is it just me, or does anyone who dares wear green into Staples Center need to be severely Taco’ed? Just on general principle?

  43. In reference to #16,

    To continue with the Darius slurpfest, I played pick-up ball with him in college and he always knew the game. I would just get lay up after lay up from D’s dimes. He knew what was and why it was happening on the court when we played. Mix that with the night after night of living room sessions of Lakers watching and analysis. Then you combine his intelligence with obsession, you get the kind of analysis Darius provides. I too really enjoy the type of discussion by the contributers to the site, and wanted to especially note Darius’s insight, especially on the Jazz’s motion game.
    There is a correlationn to the site, and to the Lakers in general, as the fans who come here and are attracted to the Lakers come from a place of understanding of how basketball should be played. We like it when our team makes the smart play, and our team does this often because of Phil. Larry Brown gets a lot of credit for getting his teams to “play the right way.” But more than any team in the league, since we’ve had Phil, the Lakers “play the right way.” This maintains a continuos discussion of how to “play the right way,” how to become the most efficient and dominant team. Thats what Laker fans want. We don’t need flash or hype, thankfully we get that because we have a team of transcendent talent, but we want good basketball. Im glad there is a place were us fans can explore how good out team’s basketball can. So from one daily reader, thanks Kurt, D, and everyone else who contributes- especially The Dude Abides cause your handle is off the hook.

  44. Completely agree, Mimsy.

  45. Ariza statistically almost plays Lebron to a standstill! His uncle was right all along!

  46. Mimsy, does that include fans? How would you taco a fellow fan?

  47. has anyone figured out the league pass issue?!

  48. @J, #47,
    Fans are okay, though their fandom credentials are automatically called into question. You do not wear green to a Laker game.

  49. I never wore much green even before I became a Laker fan. Funnily enough, blue and gold was my fave combo as a kid. I just have Laker DNA

  50. Way too much standing around by the Lakers on the defensive end.

  51. That was a lazy rebounding effort by the Lakers.

  52. some pretty pathetic rebounding my drew so far

  53. All these compliments are making me a tad uncomfortable. You guys mind if I do a J?

  54. Dude, what are you going to do to me? I don’t think i swing that way LOL!

  55. lakers are playing the most lackadaisical D- I’ve seen them play in a while, especially down low. Hopefully PJ set them back on track at the T.O…

  56. So far on the Jazz misses, we’re being outrebounded 7-5.

  57. I absolutely hate the Energy Solutions arena. How can I be dreading Sat for that reason when this game isn’t even half over yet?

  58. Thankfully, League Pass Mobile is working. Lakers and Apple> Chocolate and Peanut Butter.

  59. *stage whisper* Pssst! J! It’s a quote from The Big Lebowski… the movie that handle comes from.

  60. Everyone looking for a link:

    Dude, I’m buying 45. Nothing younger.

  61. Nice effort by Pau to draw the foul; I guess I’m starting to come around on him – maybe it was a good idea to give away Kwame for him…

  62. You know that Pau guy might be good enough to make everyone forget the legend of Kwame.

  63. Deron Williams:

    + for getting rid of the shiny otter pelt he had on top of his head for the play-offs last season

    – for the hideous beard. Major minus.

  64. fisher is doing better than our young guards so far at checking d will, though in foul trouble.


  65. I saw that ShanWOW dunk coming…

  66. 62, Mimsy, I know, but I couldn’t resist. Actually bummed I missed the midnight showing of Big Lebowski at The Nuart a few weeks ago.

    Wow a Brown monster dunk in non garbage time.

  67. At the risk of committing heinous blasphemy, the first time I watched The Big Lebowski I was not impressed. I think that movie is an acquired taste.

    Now we just need a monster block from Shannon Brown and some boxing out and rebounding from everyone else, and we’ll be back in business again.

  68. bynum’s lack of effort on the defensive end is keeping this game tight. the entire team needs to improve on rebounds if we are going to taco anyone tonight.

  69. Drew should have blocked that last shot by Okur.

  70. Tacos are the least of our problems at this point.

  71. Interesting +/-, Kobe is the only – out of the starters.

  72. Just a clue about how good this team is…our guys played their worst first half of the season since Pau came back and we’re only down four points to a good team. Drew pulled down as many rebounds as a dead man.

  73. We are being crushed on the offensive glass. Ron and Pau are the only ones with offensive rebounds so far, they have 5. Okur and Boozer together have 6, all the Jazz have 11 offensive rebounds in total.

    Some, please, reach in and smack Andrew for me? He’s the center. Rebounding is a part of his job.

  74. yeah you’re right. the jazz are not a taco team like the hornets.

  75. Well, Ariza had a good night.

    As for our game, is this going to be decided by yet another ESPN highlight play?

  76. Lakers looked sluggish in the first half. Rebounding stunk too. What happened to the J Farmar from the past 5 games, who kidnapped him? He’s playing more like a nerf-herder.

    Hopefully, PJ starts biting in the locker room. Would be nice to see a few Def 3s in the 2nd half too. Think the Jazz were camping out.

  77. Dude, I was thinking the same thing. Jazz had a lot of shots fall in and balls bounce in their direction. Lakers aren’t in concert defensively and the rebounding isn’t there. To be down only 4 is not bad.

    Question is, will Lakers manage to right things? How often have we seen Lakers have a correctable 1st half and say they just need to fix that but nothing happens.

    This will be another gauge of their focus and maturity, can they come out in the 3rd implementing the corrections?

  78. The Jazz always kill us with offensive boards. Doesn’t make any less annoying though.

    And how the hell is Norm Nixon still calling Pau “Paw Gasol” after 2 years?????

  79. drew is going to have to realise that if he ever wants to be on the floor in the clutch in the playoffs he going to have to drop the me first attitude

  80. For the record, the Jazz grabbed the offensive rebound on 50% of their missed shots in the first half. The Lakers are shooting 10% better, but it doesn’t matter if the other team gets that many extra chances.

  81. 0 rebounds for Bynum is pretty bad…

  82. What a complete lack of hustle.

  83. andrew hustle!!! Hustle! Big fella!

  84. Pj is letting the Lakes work this one out. PJ please take Bynum out, his feet are stuck in cement.

  85. This is the kind of game where Drew needs to learn how to deal with physical bangers and unpredictable double teams.

    Perkins will bang and lean on him a lot worse than Utah.

  86. Whoa…Shannon really slapped Brewer on that putback…but I’ll take it 😀

  87. Utah has the “nasty” thing going against Drew…

  88. I don’t want to be too hard on Andrew. I didn’t notice any obvious lapses on his part and I saw him contest and change shots on defense. He wasn’t that aggressive going for boards, but like I said I didn’t see any where he clearly gave up on it.

    Anyways, the entire game changed when Odom came in this quarter (changed the other way in the first half though when LO was -11. Now he’s only -1)

  89. Wow, I think even I get more lift on dunk attempts than Ron.

  90. You know what’s unusual? Visiting coaches usually ask to play defense in the second half on the side of the court where their bench is. That way the coaches and players can call out screens. In this game, sloan wanted the offense to go towards their bench in the second.

  91. How did that go in?!? Stop! Kobe time!

  92. It’s Kobe.

  93. Sasha, Farmar, and Bynum duking it out for worst performances of the night.

  94. Jordy, hitting the three, then dropping the F-bomb!

  95. A close 4th quarter. Time to test mettle.

  96. nice 3 by farmar.. kobe normally runs that play with fish..

  97. Mimsy, I think that’s the best answer for anything regarding what he does.

  98. I can’t get on Sasha too much for that foul on Millsap. He was trying for the jump ball, and the refs bailed out Millsap. It was also a good time to be aggressive, as the Jazz would have just run the clock down for the last shot.

  99. Bynum just doubled his rebounds!

  100. you know something is seriously wrong when Drew has as many dimes as rebounds.

  101. Hey Drew, look what I found! 😀
    Maybe that hard foul will wake him up.

  102. After 3 fisher leads the +/- for the game with +9 and a stat line of: 0/1/0

  103. glad sasha is getting a chance, still have a soft spot for him

  104. Why are they not letting Bynum get a touch everytime down with the second team in?

  105. 104

    thats why he’s all about the intangibles.

  106. I think Drew’s awake now and finally showing some fire.

  107. I don’t think Jordan Farmar should have bought Rajon Rondo’s Free Throw Shooting instructional video

  108. Drew contested that missed layup by Matthews and that missed jumper. OMG Sasha? Awesome. I wonder if Phil put Sasha in because he thought the team needed some hustle.

  109. Anon, don’t let Joel hear you say that…

    Andrew, for the love of blue cats and green hornets, rebound! Rebound!


  110. Machine!


    I think you have me mixed up with Fisher’s #1 fan, Aaron.

  111. Bench is off the scat list.

  112. “The Machine”, It was a good time for him to hit a 3, huh.

  113. I got to say, it makes me unusually happy to see sasha hit a three when it counts.

  114. You know what? Phil Jackson took an opportunity in a close game to give 4th quarter minutes to the bench- including Sasha- to see how they’d react, and they just matched the biggest lead the starters got in the first quarter.

    Hall of Fame coaching, ladies and gentlemen. Appreciate it while you can.

  115. 110. Jordy can you hear you saying that, JD. Phil should just put him out there at midcourt during this timeout so he can pick up the next play coming from the Utah huddle. 😀

  116. hope pj doesn’t sub. this line-up has fared well together albeit against subs.

  117. Sasha playing pretty well tonight. Decent d. Bodied up so Lakers can rebound, then nailed Trey. Nice

  118. Apologies, Joel. I did indeed get you two mixed up.

    Anon, don’t let Aaron hear you say that!

  119. Farmar finally making his case for starter / closer?

  120. I am excited now about this game, let’s just pull away from them and leave the Jazz in the dust.

  121. farmar can defend!

  122. Awesome defense on that last position, starting with Farmar stuffing Williams.

  123. Awesome D by Farmar!

  124. Wow…look at that defense…the whole team was involved…even Farmar

  125. This Lakers team just has another gear that very few teams (if any) can match

  126. i havent checked but kobe’s shooting % the last 5 or so games has been fantastic

  127. I love the defense by Farmar on Williams.

    I’m the biggest Farmar fan there is, but 2 years ago in the playoffs I almost threw out my Farmar jersey after watching him get dogged out by Derron in the playoffs every game. I like the new attitude and toughness against the bigger guy.

  128. Also, Odom won’t have a great stat line, I suspect, but he’s made a lot of good things happen in the 4th by just being on the floor – stability on the defensive boards, making the extra passes, etc.

  129. Hahahahaha Dude, he doesn’t have to be at half court. He can probably hear the plays teams are diagramming up here in Oakland.

    PJ also has Bynum playing big minutes in this 4th quarter with Odom.

    So far I’m liking everybody’s mettle

  130. That’s at least the third Shot Clock violation we’ve forced

  131. Talk about sharing the ball on that fast break!

  132. Wow, that last fast break was amazing! lakers basketball, it’s amazing.

  133. Wow! Lakers D!!!

  134. Yup, that was amazing, lol.

  135. Just under 8 minutes of absolute dominance.

  136. I like it that the Lakers are putting away a team in the 4thQ and making a close game a blowout

  137. When was the last time the Lakers were able to turn this kind of d on like this. 2004?

  138. Lakers are d-ing it up. Jazz shooting .346 and .267 from 3.

  139. Yeah, Lamar is getting a little out of hand, huh.

  140. Yet another shot clock violation, talk about some smothering defense.

  141. Tacos! Tacos! Utah might be a taco team after all.

  142. TACOS!!!

    I told you, do not wear green to Staples Center.

  143. Lakers have outscored the Jazz 28-4 in this quarter.


  144. hmmmm, is it fate that I started watching right as the 4th quarter started and the Lakers started annihilating the Jazz?

    This one is done (and I’m pretty confident this time). Time for bed.

  145. Thanks for reminding us about your long career as a talk show host Magic. Stick to basketball, Lakerland loves ya!

  146. I’d say that was a satisfactory defensive performance in the fourth quarter.

  147. that is some of the most smothering defense i have ever seen. that lineup we had out there was so long and versatile that we could cover more than 1 person at the same time. The Jazz just looked shell-shocked out there

  148. A few days ago the starters were given the day off while the bench held practice. The next day they almost beat the starters in practice but for a kobe elbow jumper. Now they spark the team with a bout of suffocating defense in the 4th. I wonder if that practice was a nice turning point for them.

  149. OMG! I just saw the Lakers break the Jazz right in front of my face!! WTF happened? I’m going to thank my lucky stars tonight.

    And I loved that between the legs to artest tip pass to farmar basket. Awesome.

    Man, it’s good to be a Laker fan.

  150. A+ on this test?

  151. Joel said Utah has only scored 4 pts the whole 4th qtr, has that ever been done before?

  152. WOW what a 4th quarter by the Lakers

  153. I particularly like Farmar’s play as of late… he has truly stepped his game up.

    With the exception of the NY game, he has been scoring: 10-8-8-10-15-10-8-11-11. That’s a total of 101 points in 9 games for an average of 11.22ppg. All this in 177 minutes.

    I say its nice to be getting attention on his contract year…

  154. You guys don’t realize that the best thing about this win is that the Lakers will take over the #1 spot in the all-important Hollinger power rankings for the first time this season.

    /not the best thing about this win

  155. Here are the fewst points by a team in a quarter.

    Fewest points, first quarter
    4 Sacramento at LA Lakers 2/4/87

    Fewest points, second quarter
    3 LA Clippers at LA Lakers 12/14/99

    Fewest points, third quarter
    2 Dallas at LA Lakers 4/6/97

    Fewest points, fourth quarter
    6 Detroit at Orlando 12/7/93
    Golden State at Phoenix 2/28/99
    and add the (6) Jazz at Lakers to the 4th quarter lisk for fewest points in the 4thQ

  156. On a more serious note, watching the Atlanta game today and then watching Lamar come in in the 4th quarter, it really hit it home how valuable it is having a big man with handles.

    Great smothering defense there late, I wonder what PJ told the guys in the huddle.

  157. From being down 63-55 about halfway through the 3rd quarter, the Lakers went on a 46-12 run before the Jazz made their final basket in the 4th. This run took place in approximately 15 1/2 minutes of game time.

  158. And that 6 point quarter came WITH the offense facing the Jazz bench in the 4th. I wonder if Sloan was worried about this.

  159. Have to feel good for Farmar, obtaining a little bit of redemption tonight for the toasting Williams gave him in last year’s playoffs. In particular, the possession where he first blocked Deron, then forced him into fumbling the ball upon the recollection.

    Overall, it’s been really positive to see how well he’s played over the last half-dozen games or so.

  160. Dude- Is there going to be a ceremony for their Hollinger Ranking Ascension before next game? I’m going to want to tape that.

  161. From being down 63-55 about halfway through the 3rd quarter, the Lakers went on a 46-12 run before the Jazz made their final basket in the 4th. This run took place in approximately 15 1/2 minutes of game time.

    We are the champions. Fear us.

  162. 157. gxs, you got that right. There are so many intangibles that Lamar brings to the table.

    159. JD, I don’t know if there will be a ceremony or not. It will probably happen overnight while everyone is sleeping. I only made that comment to inform FB&Gers that if you wake up with tears of happiness in your eyes, you’ll know the reason.

  163. I’m really looking forward to the game at Utah to see how they respond to the smackdown the Lakers just handed them. If we can come out of that arena with a W on a B2B then I’ll be extremely impressed.

  164. Now they have a great defensive team.

    Ain’t really been around this year, know you guys been covering everything.

    Awesome team. It’s early but indications are they could be one of THOSE teams – I think you guys know what I mean. The talent is sublime. Could they beat the 2001 Lakers?

  165. I can’t help but think that Farmar is putting the extra effort in to step his game up just because it’s contract year. I know I would put the extra effort in to secure my job if I was put in a position like that but in Farmar’s case, he needs this type of effort just to be affective. If he was playing decsent last year I wouldn’t question it but I feel like he’s going to pull a “sasha” on us and go back to his old ways after this season.

  166. Looking ahead we have 6 games in 10 days, 5 of which are on the road after Minnesota comes to town. It’ll be very interesting to see if we continue our strong play on the road. All 6 games are winnable (they’re all winnable when you’re the defending champs, heh), but we’re going to have 3 back-to-backs coming up, and the back end games will all be on the road. I’d love to see us at least get 4 wins on the upcoming road trip.

  167. AND Cleveland loses to a Rockets team with Ariza dropping 26 points. It has been a good day.

  168. Dude- this will be sweet. I liked when we won the silly postseason tourney last year, but everyone knows the Cavs were the real champs because they won the season Hollinger rankings.

  169. Hollinger doesn’t care for your silly, unimportant championship parades.

  170. 167. That was the NBA’s best team of the decade. I think it would go seven.

  171. JD- I think I know what tourney you’re talking about. The one Hollinger referred to as the “Cleveland Invitational” after dispatching CHI in the playoffs.

    I remember the line perfectly: Welcome to the Cleveland invitational! Pft.

  172. 173, Dude. I think young Kobe would kill current Ron. But current Kobe would school young Kobe. Pau and Bynum battling Shaq would be fun to watch.

  173. lol! Odom just revealed he was on that clippers team that also only scored 6 in the fourth!

  174. The 2001 Lakers team vs 2009. Now that’s a fun debate. I love Rob, but I think Pau would annihilate him. Shaq in his prime would eat any center alive, even Drew. No matter how smothering and long our perimeter defense, I have a hard time seeing how this team would stop Shaq, even with soft doubles. But it’d be close.

    The matchup of the decade, of course, would be young Fisher vs old Fisher. Savvy vs…younger savvy? That would be one of the few matchups where our Fish doesn’t get repeatedly taken off the dribble.

    I love how I can miss the game, but then I come on here and follow through all the comments and its like I’m seeing most of the highs and lows and experiencing the emotions of the game.

    From what I hear, Farmar played defense today? And Sasha did something positive? I really wish I could have seen this smothering defense.

  175. Two things that stood out to me tonight for the Lakers..,

    1. Shannon played better with the first unit as the PG the 2nd half of the 2nd quarter than he did as a SG in any other part of the game.

    2. Farmar played great with the first unit in the 3rd quarter and the 4th quarter.

    If the Lakers win in Utah (70-12 on b2b’s in Utah the last 82 games) the rest of the league will fold up shop.

  176. Wait I have a question

    if we say 2001 lakers, is that the team that played 2000-2001 or 2001-2002?

    I really get confused with those years even in other leagues.

  177. Shaq couldn’t be stopped, but he could be slowed down. Teams with multiple Big Men to smother/deny/ body him could hold him to 20-30 points and a human number of rebounds. The key would be to throw every foul Bynum, Powell and Mbenga have at him while letting Pau and Odom get it back the other way. If we can get Shaq defending pau in a P/R situation.

    I think Young Kobe would want to humiliate Old Kobe, but old Kobe would have a softer spot towards his younger self… until the 4th quarter. And I think they’d both want the challenge to duard each other.

    Artest and Fox would come to blows. Repeatedly.

  178. Mico- it’s when the year finishes, not when it begins (The year the Finals were played)

  179. Kurt et al,

    Any of you aware of any research that has been done on “contract year” performance vs “non contract year” performance?

  180. j.d. (180),

    If that’s so, then Artest wouldn’t be on the 2009 Lakers; the team right now would be the 2010 Lakers, right?

  181. Correct- we are currently watching the 2010 season

  182. j.d. – Do we Hack-a-Shaq?

    Kobe with a soft spot? And you call yourself a Lakers fan? Horsefeathers. Meticulous Kobe would pick his young, overeager self apart. Take that skinny kid into the post and lay into him.

    182 – It’s just semantics. We’re calling it 2009 since we’re talking about now and we haven’t reached 2010 yet, although, yes, last year’s team is technically the ‘2009’ team. 2001 vs. this current team, then.

  183. I see. thanks J.D

    so 2001 lakers would be the 15-1 playoffs. I think that’s when we still started Horace Grant?

    And was ron harper starting then?

  184. The next game against Utah will be very telling- for both teams. Do the Lakers stroll in and expect the Jazz to be wounded and a pushover or do they try to add more doubt to them early? WILL the jazz roll over?

    Also- how do the Jazz react to the Magic in their next game?

  185. I thought Grant left us before the 2001 Finals. And Harper retired, I think. Wasn’t it Fish and Horry starting?

    Edit: I think that’s half-wrong. It was Grant starting, and Fish.

  186. i think one of the reasons we were so dominant that year is that we had a legit power forward to go with shaq. but pau would still have the advantage against horace grant, i think.

  187. Snoopy- I think PJ did have the Lakers foul shaq intentionally a couple times against Miami and Phoenix, but not to the extent Popovich did.

    Mico- Horace Grant Started, but wasn’t much of a factor in th eplayoffs (after scoring the first 8 lakers points of the postseason). Lindsay Hunter actually started 47 games for the lakers that season, but Fisher started once he came back from injury, which was the impetus for the team clicking. He hit 51% from 3 in the playoffs and was a huge factor throughout.

    On the other hand, I think young fisher is one of the few people Old Fisher could actually defend well. Just tell him to shadow himself on the perimeter and don’t worry about helping.


    Neither Horry nor grant averaged over 6 ppg in the playoffs. Amazing how the team was that dominant with such subpar PF play.

  189. 2001 Lakers (playoff edition) started Fish, Kobe, Fox, Grant, Shaq. That was the first of two straight years where Fish missed the start of the year. Then he came back, and Kobe had sprained his ankle and seen how well they played without him, came back, fell in line, and we know what happened: 8 straight wins to finish the year (with Kobe returning for the last four and finally playing wholehearted team ball), 15-1 playoffs, then 16-1 to start the next season! That’s 39-2 over 41 games! And they weren’t just winning they were completely outclassing teams. Man, people thought they were gonna go 75-7 in 2002 and win the third of 10 straight titles.

    Anyways, 2001 Shaq was even better than 2000 Shaq. 2000 Portland “held” him to 25 a game in the Conference Finals, added Kemp and Davis for the rematch the next year and had no such luck. This was Shaq’s true apex. But Gasol-Bynum are the best seven-footer tandem since Duncan-Robinson before Dave got old, and with Odom they have the best interior defense in the league; does Shaq just go off for 40-20 against them like he was doing in his prime? Actually, probably so. He was that good. Don’t know about the Kobe-Kobe match-up – Kobe was flawless that postseason, still had all of his athleticism and played perfect team ball. He put up a 29-7-6 on a team with Shaq and was being unselfish! Of course overall, the Lakers are just more talented. I think they’re the most talented since one of the teams from the 80s. That ’01 team was special but this one looks like they may be onto something, too. I don’t know man, I don’t know. It’s a tough one. I can’t choose.

  190. It’s amazing that the Lakers won 3 titles in a row with three different starting PFs. Especially since they were the A.C Green, Horace Grant, and Samaki Walker! You think people are up in arms with the PG situation right now, think of the PF situation back then!

    Oh, and by the way, these PFs were the one that had to defend Tim Duncan, Karl Malone, and Rasheed Wallace in their primes.

  191. Yes, but that was the era of all the great PFs in the West. Sheed, Webber, Garnett, and Duncan in their primes. A Karl Malone who was still very good. Young rising stars in Dirk Nowitzki and Lamar Odom. A solid Antonio McDyess (21pt, 12reb per game).

    The previous year, all those PFs ate up AC Green, who started over Horry because Phil wanted Horry closing games and not getting in foul trouble. The team had to double down low every time one of those guys caught it in the post against AC. With Horace Grant, those PFs had trouble scoring in single coverage.

  192. I can’t help but think the Jazz deserved every bit of that for wearing those green uniforms.

  193. I think young Kobe vs current Kobe, would go down like young kobe vs Jordan and the bulls in the 97-98 season.

  194. you guys are leaving out the most important factor…

    2009 team chemistry will pwn 2001 team chemistry.. the current squad has fantastic passers.. absolutely selfless players.. all we need to do is to get ron to goad 01 kobe into playing 1v5 and we win.

  195. Mimsy’s ‘curse’ proved to be quite effective.

    Can we have that for colors other than green too?

    RE: 2001 vs. 2010, I think it would be hilarious just to see if young Kobe defends Shaq if Shaq and Kobe get into some staredowns 🙂

  196. Bernie, (192)
    You must not have been a Lakers fan back then. All Laker fans and the rest of the NBA knew the Lakers had major holes at PG and PF. But we had the best two players in the game so we were able to overcome it. Every playoffs series ignorant analysts would say the Lakers would lose the individual matchups at PG, SF, and PF and would lose the series. But Shaq and Kobe were too good and the rest of the Lakers could spot up and shoot open jumpers.

    I mean every time down the floor Kobe would get it or Shaq would get it in attacking position. And no other Laker could create his own offense. It is funny how things change. Now the Lakers have 6 players that can create offense for themselves (Kobe, Bynum, Gasol, Artest, Odom, and Farmar).

    I think we need a post comparing this Laker team to other great Laker teams of the past…

  197. Farmar played the best D of his career tonight.

  198. Talk about Laker PG’s: they collectively held “bad boy” Jazz superstar Devon Williams in check (17 points–5 from free throws). Though Derek Fisher was scoreless, Jordan Farmar and ShanWOW (15 points) almost matched Devon’s scoring productivity–with Jordy actually taking it to Devon defensively with harrassment, blocks, and steals in the second half.

    Sasha showed shades of “the machine” by hitting his only 3 point attempt in 10 quality minutes.

    The Taco squad preserved the margin of victory.

    Considering that these guys are the Laker’s supposed weakest links . . . .

  199. I think young Kobe would be delighted that an alternate reality version of himself could dog O’Neal without “hurting team chemistry.”

    194 – I was actually thinking along those lines. Young Kobe…I hate to use the word “raw talent” because his game was so polished, but it was raw compared to the meticulousness of his game now (which is reminiscent of late Jordan). So just like he had 33 or something against Jordan, he’d probably get some against old Kobe, although to a lesser extent because Jordan was taken by surprise and old Kobe knows young Kobe’s tendencies.

    This is arguably the weirdest discussion we’ve ever had on FBaG. We should dedicate an entire thread to it.

  200. wait, didn’t Ron Harper start for the 01 team? Because one of my favorite jokes of all-time is “if the 96 Bulls played the 01 Lakers, would Ron Harper have to guard himself?”

    Ron Harper was a prototypical triangle guard: tall, great defender, decent shooter.

  201. I’m loving Farmar’s play too, but he still does things every game that make me cringe … like his back-to-back turnovers in the first half (classic Farmar trying to do too much) or the great defensive play he made in the 4th followed by a terrible off-balance leaning jumper that he missed badly and shouldn’t have taken.

  202. Harper only played 47 games during the season and barely got any run at all in the playoffs. I remember Bobby Jackson said something that year in the playoffs about they weren’t gonna listening to what Ron Harper said, because Ron Harper wasn’t playing.

    @Bernie, what did I say that made you think I wasn’t a Lakers fan back then?

  203. How about West, Goodrich, and McMillian for scorers, Hariston for boards; all backstopped by Chamberlain for everything else. Even with Jerry and Wilt at the end of their careers, that would still test champions today. Of course, that wasn’t the year Wilt averaged 48.5min/game, but still…

  204. I gotta say what’s up to my boy Harris (#45). Those pick up games were good times…we ran those guys.

    As for the Jazz game:

    *This game showed why the Jazz are a very good team – great execution, strong rebounding, a truly great player on the perimeter, and capable players on their bench (Miles has always been a sneaky good shooter [plus he gets extra credit for being a lefty] and Millsap, while not having his typical season, can still impact the game). But this game also showed that the Lakers can play at another level that most other teams can’t reach.

    *The usual suspects will always get credit in a game like this – Kobe & Pau, Artest had another good game, Drew (while not rebounding to his potential) did protect the paint, Odom was excellent on the defensive glass and then changing ends quickly to create advantages on offense, etc. But, I really give credit to…

    *Jordan Farmar! It’s been said already, but he’s been playing very, very well lately. Yes, he still goes outside the system a bit too much. But, if he’s doing all these other things right, I don’t care. He’s moving the ball well. He’s attacking the paint and not settling for too many jumpers. He’s creating for himself and his teammates all while playing to his strenghts. And, most importantly, he’s playing better defense. Deron Williams has always been a real problem for Jordan. And based off that history, you saw Phil go to WOW as the PG to match up with Deron in the middle part of the game. But, in the 4th quarter when we went on that run, Phil went to Jordan and he delivered. Soon enough, it was Farmar pestering Williams – using his speed and athleticsm to cut off driving angles and challenge shots. Jordan played inspired ball last night and he deserves a load of credit for his contributions to this win.

    *Also, I mentioned Phil and he deserves lots of credit too. He brought in Sasha to match up with Miles in the 4th quarter and he responded. Sasha was active in chasing CJ around the court and then showed real focus on offense. He wasn’t chucking up shots and playing frantically. He instead exhibited patience in running our sets and making the right pass. Phil also went to LO and Bynum for a long stretch to start the 4th even though those guys hadn’t shown much in the previous 3 quarters. But those guys also turned their (and the team’s) nights around by challenging shots at the rim, rebounding, trapping on the perimeter, and forcing missed shots & turnovers. The Jazz lost any rhythm they had when that Farmar/Sasha/Ron/LO/Bynum unit picked up the intensity and it snowballed from there. Then we brought Kobe back in and it was curtains.

  205. harold, it’s not me. It’s fate.

    The retired numbers and the championship banners hanging from the rafters can sense green jerseys come into their arena, and they remember… they still compete… To wear green jerseys into Staples Center is to bring the full competitive fury of 50 years of Laker legends down on yourself.

    And as we saw in the fourth quarter last night, true greatness never ends and the powers of past championships can still dominate an unworthy opponent who dares to wear green.

    (I posted that, re-read it, and am now seriously considering cutting back on the espresso… 🙂 )

  206. Darius

    good pont on Sasha’s play last night. It was good to see him play within the offense. Since bringing in Shannon, his role has changed, and it seems like he hasn’t adjusted to that. though he still committed some stupid fouls last night, at least he didn’t overdo it on the offensive end like he tends to do.

  207. Woohoo, pop the bubbly! Dude was right, we are now number 1 on Hollinger’s Power Rankings.


    Actually, the thing I see that I like most on Hollinger’s rankings is our strength of schedule ranking; we are tied for 5th (with Detroit) at .536, while the east contenders (cough, pretenders) are as follows:
    Cleveland – 25th – .466
    Orlando – 26th – .466
    Boston – 27th – .460

    Rounding out the list is our old friends, the Thuggets (.411), those big bad junior high bullys who beat up elementary school kids for their milk money. Yes, yes we were one of those kids earlier this season, but as Pop said before, back to back @Den is a scheduled loss

  208. Antwonomous,

    I think there’s some confusion with the comments. I never have or ever will question anyone’s fandom or their love for the Lakers. Aaron was directing those comments to me.

    My point was that for all the clamor about the Lakers PG situation, it was nothing like back then with the PFs. At least now, there’s some stability with Fisher but it was truely amazing in those championship years to win with 3 different and frankly, below average starting PFs. Wouldn’t anyone find it amazing to win a championship with Samaki Walker in the starting lineup?

    @Aaron, yes I was a Laker fan back then and still am a Laker fan today. I even owned and treasured a basketball signed by Tony Smith of all people. There’s no need to demean comments.

  209. Wouldn’t anyone find it amazing to win a championship with Samaki Walker in the starting lineup?

    Wouldn’t that depend on who the other starters were?

    I wasn’t following NBA basketball at all until fall of 2004, but I’ve been led to believe that the other four starters on the 2001 Laker team were fairly good.

  210. Not Charlie Rosen December 10, 2009 at 10:05 am

    I’ll put it this way:

    Samaki Walker < Kwame/Travis Knight/Medvedenko/slightly-off-balance-folding-chair

    It would be hard for a line-up of all-time greats to compensate for him, let alone a team with 2 greats and two beloved-if-somewhat-average (Fox and Fisher) players.

    Thank god for Big Shot Rob.

  211. I don’t think Samaki Walker was that bad. He certainly wasn’t a turnover waiting to happen. He usually put up decent numbers and stayed out of Shaq’s way (a non-trivial skill). And it’s worth noting that he almost always played well against the Spurs (in part due to the fact that he had played with the Spurs before coming to the Lakers).

    All of those championship teams had Horry finishing at PF, so I don’t think it’s quite right to portray them as a team in flux at that position.

    It will never show up in the stats, but I always thought one of the things that stood out about guys like Fish, Fox, Horry (not to mention Shaw and Harper) was that they always played well under pressure. Not just hitting the big shots (though obviously that stood out), but that fact that these guys didn’t make many mistakes. I remember a lot of big runs fueled because the Lakers were getting quality looks every time while not giving up anything easy at the other end.

  212. The funny thing about Samaki Walker is that he dominates on NBALive 2002.

  213. Bernie,
    I am sorry… I wasn’t trying to be demeaning. I was seriously just thinking maybe you were too young to be a fan back then. Sorry for the confusion.

  214. Oh sorry about that, Bernie, I meant Aaron. And Aaron I guess you weren’t talking to me and anyways, we’re all part of the same Lakers family. Peace.