Preview & Chat: The Utah Jazz

Kurt —  December 12, 2009

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Records: Lakers 18-3 (1st in West) Jazz 13-9 (5th in West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 108.7 (11th in league) Jazz 109.9 (6th in league)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 99.1 (1st in league) Jazz 107.3 (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

Since we just played them two days ago, this will be short and sweet today.

Yes, Kobe is going to play: Of course he is, he’s Kobe. If his hand needed to be amputated there was a 50% chance he’d suit up. He went through the full shoot around in Utah this morning and is ready to go.

That said, he admitted after the game last night that today would be the worst of it, so we’ll have to watch and see how it effects his game. (If it’s anything like last night we can expect some lobs that end up as highlights on LetShannonDunk.com.)

The other thing to note is that Kobe seemed subdued after the game last night. Kobe accepts challenges head on like few other athletes ever have, but you have to expect a little frustration with another fluky finger injury to his shooting hand. The thing is, by the time of tip off tonight, he will have put that frustration behind him like few other athletes can.

Blogs and links: Check out Salt City Hoops.

Keys to game: This is one of those games that when you look at the schedule before the season and check it as a likely loss: back-to-back games, flying at night then playing the next day against a good team and at altitude. Throw in that the Jazz are a proud team that was embarrassed by the fourth quarter of the Wednesday meeting and you can expect they will be playing with fire. (By the way, if this is close or the Lakers lose, that means nothing about how well they are playing or what would happen in the playoffs, these teams see each other too often for one December game to be a statement.)

What the Lakers did in the fourth quarter of that game on Wednesday was play good pressure defense on he perimeter, with Bynum behind them to protect the rim, and that took the Jazz out of their preferred rhythm. The shots they got were not always the ones they wanted (and when they got good shots they missed them). There were three 24 second clock violations.

The Lakers can do that again, the question is will they have the focus to do it again. What can be missing in back-to-back games is the energy, the desire to play that kind of defense again. We shall see.

Defense will be the key, the Lakers should be able to score, the Jazz remain a struggling defensive team. That said, they should expect a physical game and to not get calls — something they should get used to with the road games.

The Jazz may also be deeper than we saw a few days ago — Price will be playing tonight, Korver is a game time decision.

Where you can watch: 6 pm start at nuclear waste arena, you can choose between Channel 9 or 710 ESPN radio.

Kurt

Posts

104 responses to Preview & Chat: The Utah Jazz

  1. Swedishmeatballs December 12, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    Am I first? Wow.

    Anyways, I’d like to thank Bill Bridges and Snoopy2006 for the information given in the last thread. Really appreciate the help guys! I didn’t know about the changning of the lane for example, and I’ll keep my eyes open for Xavier.

    Good post Kurt. Will be interesting to see Kobe..

  2. This one’s for Warren! Let’s go Lakers! 12 on 12!

  3. Bill Bridges,

    It was the first joint, the one closest to the fingernail.

  4. Is there any word on the recovery time for Kobe’s finger? As in, will he be back to normal by All Start break, or will it still linger come playoffs? Inquiring and concerned minds wish to know…

  5. need to keep an eye on Drew, he needs to bring it tonight, I thought he was dogging it in the Wolves game. not sure why, but he just wasn’t looking all that motivated, like he had a bug up is a**. anyway, maybe he was saving it for tonight, it sure would help to have guys like Drew and pau and Ron step up to fill in for the drop off we will probably see from Kobe, (it’s probably just amazing anyway that he won’t sit a game out).
    Deron will get his, Boozer too, gotta try to limit the role players from having a career night, and play within our system.

  6. Mimsy, see the previous thread, commenter inwit explains his situation with a similar injury that required surgery, it is towards the end, somewhat. I am not saying this is what Kobe will have to deal with, Kobe is superhuman after all.

  7. Thanks sT! I hadn’t had a chance to read that thread with undivided attention yet. I’ll go look there again. :)

    EDIT:
    Okay, I read it. @%^#$!!! Not good. Not at all. Grrrr. While I fully agree with you that Kobe is super-human, even heroes and gods have to rest once in a while…

  8. They said last night, oh Kobe is wearing a foam splint, like it is easy to play with. I have no idea how he can shoot with that thing on, Kobe really amazes me.

  9. inwit

    how’s the pain?
    I mean i know it’s painful,
    but is it something that you notice that it hurts while you use it?

    or is it like, I can get this warmed up, play with it, but tomorrow’s gonna be a bi*ch?

  10. Great…Kobe has been puking all day today. Oh well. He’s going to try playing anyway.

  11. Mico,

    BTW, I hurt myself while laying on the couch reading a book (nobody believes that is the real story, but it is true).

    Granted, I’m not Kobe, but based on my experience, surgery would mean at least 10 weeks to recover, by then the bone and tendon should be reattached, and some range of motion and feeling comes back.

    Because I did not bend the joint for several weeks, it stiffened up and is painful to bend (I will probably develope arthritis my doctor says), I am supposed to do exercises every day, but … The area operated on is still very sore if touched. The joint below the injured one hurts also, it got bruised and because I am compensating, it hurts also. And if I hit my finger against something …. (expletive deleted).

    Also, the swelling is still present, I’m told that might last several more months.

    Because of it being wrapped, basically 24/7 for three months, the skin is tender and discolored.

    When I use cardio machines or do yoga or something similar, it feels better from the blood flow, but it is awful in the mornings, especially when it is cold and rainy.

  12. Just checking,

    anyone watchign a Ustream feed that has the lakers game video but has a Warriors – Pistons Audio?

    :D

  13. I hope kobes getting his hand sanitizer on..

    Lakers can’t allow deron to go nuclear today.. he hung an insane 2 quarters of ball on the magic thursday..

  14. If Kobe was amputated there would be a 50/50 chance he’ll suit up? LOL, nice and probably true! Kobe is fearless and relentless. Lakers are simply too good to lose tonight regardless of location and schedule. Games like these give the bench their opportunity to remind the league how deep the Lakers are. Come on Jordan, Sasha, Brown, Morrison, Powell, screw it, even Mbenga, we believe in you guys to help carry the offensive load! Odom, you’re already a guaranteed scorer when put it.

  15. LOL…the official scorer gave credit for Drew’s basket to Lamar. I guess because Drew shot it with his left hand?

  16. AB-gasol-odom-artest-farmar lineup.. niice

  17. I wonder if there is any way to inform the official scorer of a mistake. Lamar was credited for a bucket when Drew made a left-handed bank shot late in the first quarter. Kurt?

  18. Kinda feeling the effects right now of the dedication to Warren or Warren himself missing the first post…. D:

  19. not really suprised by poor defensive effort

  20. Fisher picking up Kobe’s slack?

  21. Is Matt Harpring announcing for the Jazz? If so I may actually like him less as an announcer than as a player, which I didn’t think was possible. He (or whoever is doing color for them) is talking about why Lebron is better than kobe. Saying things like, “If you put Lebron on this laker squad he’s winning championships, but if you put kobe on that cleveland squad, Kobe doesn’t.” You mean like how Lebron hasn’t won anything with that team either?? You put the 2006 Lakers in the Eastern Conference how far do they go?

  22. If the lakers wake up defensively they can win this game, 6 points is nothing.

  23. J.D. yeah that’s Harpring… people just don’t think before they talk a lot of the time. The 2006 Lakers in the east that year probably make the conference champoinship… The argument for best ever and all that has gotten real tired… everyone has different criteria, so there’s no way to compare

  24. If they’re saving energy on the road here, I can understand sleepwalking through the first half defensively hoping they can keep it close and turn it on in the second half, but it is a risky situation.

    It really is amazing how much of a difference Kobe makes to my faith in this team. Not that I lose hope, but everything suddenly looks more fragile. Do we need to hope Artest has an efficient game? Can defenses start smothering Pau? Does the offense know what it needs to do? Kobe is the ultimate security blanket even for a team as talented as this.

  25. Good sign for the Lakers- they’ve been called for 15 fouls to Utah’s 6. Those number tend to even out. It is absolutely ridiculous that its that lopsided though considering that Utah has shot jumpshots and the lakers have been in the paint all night.

  26. You guys might have seen this already, but here’s a little something to take stuff off your minds for halftime at least:

    http://i140.photobucket.com/albums/r1/kyonblotch/dacos.jpg

  27. shouldn’t that be Mtaco?

  28. Utah can’t miss a jumper tonight.

  29. This commentary team on KCAL is really awkward…Joel keeps running over the top of Hundley.

  30. looks like just one of those game, home team gets the benefit of the calls, cant miss on jumpers, free throws not going in

  31. Ronnie Brewer knocking down 3s?

    This could get ugly.

  32. if kobe were 100%, i’d say it’s not over til it’s over. but things are looking pretty bleak right now.

  33. 32

    LOL. you mean dallas had a daco unit too?

    nice

    jazz are starting to miss those jumpshots.. lakers need to grab those misses tho.. kobe can’t defend though..

  34. we’re actually 60% from the floor compared to Utah’s 55%.

    Just that they are shooting 55% from the 3 and 89% from the line…

    .. and with that steal, all of our starters have steals.

  35. ron ron keeping us in it

  36. Does Hot Rod Hundley know the meaning of the word “enunciate”?

  37. Honestly, Deron is getting calls JUST for walking into the paint. There’s not even a legitimate attempt to finish – but he gets the calls like clock work.

  38. What the hell are these calls. Every single time down the floor they’re finding some reason to hand it back

  39. The jazz go over the back or push guys to grab rebounds all day

  40. Maybe its time to play 5 against 5. Nothing against our Iron man there but he is barely there.

  41. it really is amazing kobe is even playing

  42. Only down 10, would this ever be a steal if the Lakers could gut it out.

  43. Let me get this straight. On every lakers entry to the post Deron is doubling the big man… AND WE DON’T MAKE THEM PAY!?

    What the hell is this.. it’s disgusting basketball. JFarm was doing well on Deron last night but he’s no where to be seen – at least he might nail 2-3 3’s at the top of the 3 line just to keep Deron a BIT honest.

    And Drew… Throw a GOD-DAMNED elbow on a step through and let the D know you won’t be told what you can and can’t do on offense.

  44. odom really frustrating tonight

  45. officiating getting a bit ridiculous

  46. Single digit deficit going into the 4th, not too bad considering it being a back-to-back and our main guy being injured(Kobe only has 8 pts, which is like 20 pts less than his avg.).

    Now if only Artest could shoot some FTs and if Lamar could finish and if Bynum could grab a board ;)

    As long as it doesn’t turn into a blowout, I’m gonna be okay with this scheduled loss.

  47. deron is doubling cause we’re 1-9 from three.. this unit is playing well and showing some positive signs.. defense is looking better w/kobe on the bench..

  48. Marriage doesn’t seem to be agreeing with Lamar.

  49. The Jazz are energized and hustling. The Lakers . . . not so much.

  50. pissed off now not getting calls

  51. What a pathetic performance…Im going to bed

  52. the officiating is getting to the point where its almost funny to watch.. not that its really an excuse the lakers are just letting it get to them and playing zero defense, plus the jazz just aren’t missing like they were three nights ago.

  53. The Lakers look gassed, just like they did against Denver. This may just be the case with an older team.

  54. Inwit, why are we surprised that Odom is inconsistent and ina slump? That has always been LO in the regular season.

  55. D Williams drives the full length of the court, no one picks him up, shoots the easy lay-up plus an and1 due to Drew not knowing what a good foul is and… I’ve watched just about all I can.

  56. Why does that man have a drawing of himself on a poster titled “LAKER HATER?” I feel like he needed to think that presentation through better. Maybe a drawing of a Laker with a red line through it?

  57. It just seemed like he would tease us with a few good games now and then, Kurt.

    Now he looks unfocused and sloppy.

  58. Fisher being active on the defensive end and draws back to back offensive fouls

  59. Matt Harpring thinks those are questionable calls. Matt Harpring probably should have been called for 3 fouls while stating that fact,

  60. can anyone else hear the crazy woman yelling?

    take kobe out and get artest back in the post!

  61. Penalty now. Let’s make the best of it.

    Kobe really struggling…

    Aw geez, we have them where we want them and we’re chucking threes!!!

    Okur, Boozer and Miles all have 5 fouls each! Attack the darn paint!

  62. Fisher making the difference, now we need some clutch shots from him.

  63. Maybe Kobe should suck it up and take some time off for his injury to heal?

    Right now he’s 4/16 (including 0-5 from three) with 8 points at 5 minutes left in the fourth.

  64. I have tried to no avail to tune Matt Harpring out so i just muted the broadcast. He should have kept his chummy little story about calling his dad after playing the cavs to tell him that he just played against the “best player to be” to himself. I mean seriously, wasnt Lebron the number one pick? Didnt every one and their mama proclaim him to be the next MJ/Magic?Wilt hybrid. *hiss*

  65. If I’m ever executed for a crime I didn’t commit, I fully expect Matt Harpring to by the color commentator for the event.

  66. If the Lakers are going to shoot 3’s, mind as well put Sasha in

  67. 2 – 18 for 3 point attempts, uhg… Great Kobe for a 3 point play.

  68. If this ends up being a Live by the Kobe night, he needs his own pedestal and hall.

    Wow, Pau stepping up too.

  69. Sigh. Not that it’s important, but I kinda wanted to aim for that 1999-00 19-game win streak we had.

    Oh well. Time to start another.

  70. I know I said I wasn’t going to watch but my faith is beyond my reasoning. The lakers are displaying the most moronic game play on both ends of the floor that I think this team is capable of. I just don’t understand why D Williams is a one man guard in L.A and unstoppable in Utah.

  71. Did I just hear them say that brewers shot was their shot of the year? A quarter into the season and the teams shot of the year is a shotclock beating jumper that puts you up 15 with 5 minutes to go??? Sad year, sad commentary. And I’m tired of these commentators saying it’s been a good week fir the jazz. U just cannot say it’s been a good week when you’ve tied the record for futility in the 4th quarter. You just can’t.

  72. 75 my thoughts exactly

  73. I’m not going to take anything away from Kobe; I’m sure he’s suffering more than anyone that plays basketball ever should when they’re on the court…but if you played for the Jazz, wouldn’t you just go at him every time down the floor. He was barely able to move on defense.

    This clearly, even if we were at full strength isn’t a bad loss. I just take every loss hard. Very disappointed in the result, but if I would have had these facts (back-to-back, Kobe finger, Kobe ill, Jazz letdown Weds, and playing in Utah) it’s a tough game regardless. I just think we didn’t execute a game plan for those factors.

    Why, oh why, didn’t league pass have the Home and Away broadcasted. Didn’t they declare three different “easy-moderate” jumpers the best shots of their lives? The three at the end by Wes?

    Ok…we lost, I’m over it now…just had to vent. Time for some road action.

  74. @dredawg, not to mention that it was actually a travel, he picked the ball up while on his knees, then stood up and took the shot.. whatever though, just comical that they made such a deal over a shot clock beating shot that had no bearing on the game

  75. Machine got another +6 in 2 mins with zero stats

  76. Ron Artests’ bad reputation is evident with the officials. They call some horrible calls on him, and rarely does he get calls when he’s going to the basket.

    Also, is it just me or is Kobe’s immune system just bad. It seems that there’s also 3-4 times a season he has the flu or flu-like symptoms. Obviously you give him his props for trying to play through it, but I think a bigger concern is how does he keep getting the flu so frequently.

  77. Kobe really hurt us tonight.. not just with terrible shooting (which is excusable with the flu) but by completely mailing it in on defense.. the lakers did great job of attacking the paint early on.. especially artest/pau/bynum.. but couldn’t get the stops like they did in LA.

    Credit the jazz for making shot after shot.. but when they went a little cold we failed to get those defensive boards or execute on offense..

  78. Rudy, it’s only natural that Kobe gets sick so often – the man drives his body to the brink.

  79. Kurt, you said it best about chalking this up as a loss when the schedule came out. Truthfully this loss doesn’t bother me that much, they lost by 8 points against a team that was on fire, being on the second night of a back to back with the best player on the team struggling (finger+whatever health concerns Kobe was experiencing), and on top of that playing in one of the toughest arenas in the NBA. The Lakers won’t win every game and as bad as they played they still showed some fight at the end of the game and had a chance to win. Still tied for the best record in the league, time to look ahead to what should be some easy road wins against some weak teams (Bulls, Bucks, Nets and Pistons).

  80. Well we shouldn’t feel bad about this lost considering that it was a back-to-back road game in Utah with a piss off, broken, Kobe.

  81. Agreed that this is an “acceptable” loss, if there ever is one. I was wondering, does anyone here have league pass with direct or dish? I’ve got it with Comcast (no other choice) and there is no HD games at all and barely do they have the choice of home and away. Can anyone verify that dish and or direct has some of these games on HD?

  82. Dredawg, DirecTV has a number of the games in HD.

  83. You know, our winning streak ended when the first post neglected to mention that it was for Warren ;)

  84. I have a chronic respiratory condition and I swear Kobe gets the cold/flu more than I do! I think it’s his inhuman training regimen. Studies show that while vigorous exercise may boost your immune system long term, a tough workout actually makes you immediately more susceptible to cold/flu. One study had 3 groups of people — one that did nothing, one did mild exercise, and one exercised heavily. All 3 groups were exposed to a flu virus. The last group did the worst (contracted the virus and became sick). The idle group was better off and the mild exercise group did best.

    This was an “understandable” loss, but that didn’t keep me from feeling frustrated watching it. I don’t understand why teams just don’t keep doing the same thing (in our case, pound it inside with Pau and Drew) until the other team can stop them.

  85. It shouldn’t be too surprising that we lost to a team that was 9-3 in its last 12 games, on the road, in one of the best home court advantage arenas in the league, while our star player was sick, hurt, and receiving IV fluids, on the 2nd night of a back 2 back, after traveling through a time zone.

    Really, we should’ve lost by more.

  86. What does disappoint me is the Lakers bizarre stubborn pattern of throwing up 3 pointers, even when they are not falling, and when the shots themselves are not in rhythm.

    We have the best interior attack in the league, the Jazz had three players in foul trouble with eight minutes to go in the 4th quarter, and STILL we were chucking up long bombs instead of simply pounding it inside!

    How can you call yourself a professional if you continue to do that. Bad coaching tonight, for sure. Unless this is one of Phil’s patented, “We will let the players figure this one out by being embarrassed here”, things…which drives me crazy.

    As a metaphor, this game was like watching a carpenter trying to build a house, but insisting on driving nails with a screwdriver, while his hammer rusts on his toolbelt…

    Ugh…

  87. 3Threelll, you are absolutely right. We could have possibly taken out three Jazz players from their rotation by going inside and that also would have been better than the lower percentage 3 point shots that were just being chucked up. Who will ever understand Phil Jackson and his ways, you would have thought the coaches could have seen that, they do know how many players have how many fouls, do they not?

    Anyway, on to four more games on the road, hopefully Kobe will at least get well.

  88. Dredawg,
    I have the NBA league pass through DirecTV, and they offer it in HD if the original feed is available in HD. The number of HD games is higher this year than last year, and should be going up again next season. Blackout rules apply, and play off games are not on the league pass.

  89. If the lakers remain the only team undefeated by sub 500 teams at the end of this roadtrip, I will be a happy man.

  90. So what do you think about Gasol’s statement saying that if it weren’t for his offensive rebounding, he wouldn’t get more than five FGA per game, cause his teammates tend to forget about him for long stretches through the games?

  91. I think it’s good that Pau is calling for more touches.
    last night it was starting to click when Pau and Andrew started working off each other, that was pretty much unstoppable, and I want to see more of that.

  92. He has a valid point. I feel that they go to Andrew more in the post (does anybody have numbers to back this up?) and while I think it’s great for drews postgame development, I think they should go to pau more in tighter games (especially when kobe’s struggling). Did he say this after Utah? He had another 20 rebound game. Amazing.

  93. DreDawg, yes he said after the Utah game, he also said that he’s triying to be more noticeable for his teammates, but due to double covers sometimes, or plainly because they (his teammates) don’t wan’t to feed him with the ball, he feels like he is putting energy and effort with no good reason for it.

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-lakers-fyi13-2009dec13,0,3944737.story

    About the lose, he said that they couldn’t put it in Kobe’s injury and illness, but the lack of intensity, and poor decission making in the second half.

  94. One place Pau could find more shots is with that 16-18 foot jumper he used to pop with regularity that seems to have left him. Right now he seems to be averaging one a game, and they’re not going down.

    The pecking order in the post seems to be a little out of whack, but that should work itself out as the season progresses.

    Hopefully, they will begin to recognize mismatches and do a better job on the floor of exploiting them.

    You can tell from the first few possessions of the game where the coaching staff thinks the mismatches are.

    As the Artest becomes more integrated into the offense, they should become better at “picking those scabs”.

  95. It’s not the first time Pau complained about touches, he’s been saying that for the past year or so.

    And I think it’s valid now that he is more comfortable with the system. Kobe, more than anyone, needs to actively seek Pau out, especially now.

    Still, with Pau being active on the offensive glass, I think it may also be a good thing if others shoot once Pau gets in a decent rebounding position. Yesterday it was downright silly as to how many offensive boards Pau got, especially in the 4th…

  96. I feel obligated because of how often I point out how bad of a player he is to acknowledge when Fisher has a good game. He played great last night for the 2nd time this season.

  97. 4 sets of back-to-back games down, 15 sets of back-to-back games to go.

  98. My only reservation about Pau’s complaining is I hope it doesn’t mean he has complained privately and his teammates are ignoring him. I think Pau needs to ask for the ball more in-game, like Drew does. Now, Artest — he should stop trying to post people up. His post moves are terrible! He should only rebound and put back. Does every body on the Lakers want to be a post up player or what?

    Phil probably should’ve sat Kobe seeing how he was struggling, but Phil is ever so cognizant of Kobe’s ego. Instead, he could’ve pointed out our advantage inside and told the team to pound it into Pau, then pound some more.

    Also, it seems we do too much of the inside – outside game (get it in the post and kick it out for a 3). It’s either the paint or beyond the arc. When the 3s aren’t falling, we get into trouble. Instead, we need the perimeter guys to take a couple of steps inside and take a mid range 18, 20 footer.

  99. Well, I much prefer inside/outside to anyone taking 18-20 footers.

    But Kobe and Andrew probably should have handen Pau a few of their possesions to get the offense flowing better.