Preview and Chat: The Utah Jazz

Darius Soriano —  April 2, 2010

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Records: Lakers 54-21 (1st in West, 2nd in NBA), Jazz 50-26 (3rd in West, 4.5 games behind Lakers)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 109.1 (10th in NBA), Jazz 111.0 (5th in NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 103.4 (5th in NBA), Jazz 104.6 (10th in NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol
Jazz: Deron Williams, Wesley Matthews, CJ Miles, Carols Boozer, Mehmet Okur

UPDATE:  It has been announced that Kobe Bryant has come to terms on a three year contract extension to stay on with the Lakers.  And while the terms of the deal have not yet been released, some are reporting the deal is in the range of $90 million.  That’s some major coin.  We’ll have more details up as we get them over the next several days.  But for now, rejoice.  Because while this deal was never really in question, it’s great news to have #24 locked up through the 2013-14 season.

The Lakers Coming in:  Home sweet home.  After a five game road trip that saw the Lakers on the wrong side of .500, it’s good to be back at The Staples Center.  Continuing to focus on what the Lakers are doing wrong is pointless.  We all know that they’re not playing well and we all hope that it changes.  So, at this point, all that’s left to say is that the Lakers could use a win against any opponent but getting a “W” against a very good team would be even better.  As has been reported, the players are frustrated.  They don’t want to play poorly and they aren’t trying to just coast through the final portion of the regular season hoping to turn it on.  The fact is, so far things have not gone as planned.   But a win tonight could go a long way in restoring some confidence and getting this team back on track.

The Jazz Coming in:  Much like when the Lakers faced this team back in early February, the Jazz are one of the hottest teams in the NBA.  Since we faced them last, they’ve won 18 of 25 games including 8 of their last 10.  As Phillip pointed out this morning, they’re playing the way that teams want to be playing when the playoffs are approaching. 

And it all starts with Deron Williams.  In Utah’s most recent game they played the Warriors and Deron had 19 assists in 31 minutes.  The game before that he had 23 points and 14 assists.  Before that he had a 20 & 12 game, a 21 &12 game, and then a game of 18 & 16.  Yeah, he’s pretty good.  In fact, with Chris Paul missing as many games as he has this season, Deron has been the best point guard in the league and making a claim as either a first or (surely) second team all-NBA performer.  He is the engine behind a 50 win team and one that looks to make noise in the playoffs after having a down year last season where they slipped into the post season as the 8th seed.  Oh, and they’ve also got that Carlos Boozer guy.  He’s been averaging close to 23 and 12 in his last five games and has been doing it in about 33 minutes (average) in those games.  These guys may not be Stockton and Malone, but they’re one of the better duos in the entire league.

Jazz Blogs:  They have computers in Utah?  I kid, I kid.  Check out Salt City Hoops for everything on the Jazz.  Also check out SLC Dunk for very good content. 

Keys to game:  Much like when the Lakers play the Spurs, there are no secrets when a Jerry Sloan team faces a Phil Jackson one.  These coaches have faced off 55 times in the regular season (Phil has won 35) and several other times in the playoffs (including the ‘97 & ‘98 Finals and the last two post-seasons).  So don’t expect there to be surprises, just know that both teams want this win badly and will come out ready to fight for it.

All that said, this is a game where I think the Lakers have advantages that they need to exploit.  Especially on offense.  First off, the Jazz don’t have a capable defender to really bother Kobe.  Before the trading deadline the Jazz gave away Ronnie Brewer in a salary dump and tonight AK47 won’t play due to injury.  That leaves Wes Matthews (son of the former Laker by the same name), CJ Miles, Sundiata Gaines, and someone named Othyus Jeffers (that is a great name) as the players that will see time on Kobe this evening.  None of these guys could be considered elite level defenders and none of them have the size/speed combination to both bother Kobe’s jumper (from the wing or the post) and slow him on drives to the basket.  So, tonight should be a night where Kobe can work within the offense and get baskets against defenders that will fight hard but likely won’t have enough to bother him.

The other advantages that the Lakers have are with Gasol and Odom.  Boozer and Okur are slow footed big men that, while physical, don’t have the length to contest/block their shots or foot speed to stay with them in wing or mid-post isolations.  Gasol and Odom should be looking to attack every chance they get in order to get to the rim and/or earn trips to the foul line.

Defensively, slowing Deron Williams with the personnel that we have is a tall task so I’m not even looking for it to happen.  As far as I’m concerned, he can go for as many points as he likes as long as we try to make it as difficult as we can on him and don’t allow him to be a double threat by racking up the assists.  As I mentioned earlier he’s been putting up some astounding numbers and has really been making his life easy for his teammates and it’s that part of his game that the Lakers need to be most concerned with stopping.

The other player of note that the Lakers need to slow is, obviously, Boozer.  The good news is that the Lakers have actually done a very good job against Carlos this season.  In the three games against the Lakers this season, Boozer has totaled 34 points on 39.5% shooting from the field and an even worse 36.4% from the foul line.  The bad news is that it’s difficult to keep a good player like Boozer down and he’ll surely be looking to redeem himself tonight.  That said, the Lakers need to continue to play Boozer to go to his left hand, close out on his mid range jumper, and use their length to contest shots when he turns and faces or when he turns over either shoulder to shoot his fade away or his short jump hook.

In the end, there many other keys to this game – guarding the P&R with Williams and either Boozer or Okur (and the different threats that those players present), being aware of the off the ball screens and the flex action that incorporates multiple back cuts, playing through the Jazz physicality, etc, etc.  But really, this game is one that the Lakers can just use to get back on the right path as they head into the playoffs.  Yes, we’ve been saying that a lot lately.  And yes, we’ve all been a disappointed by the recent results.  But the players know that time is short just like us fans do.  I expect a good game tonight.  Let’s get that win.

Where you can watch:  7:30pm start tonight, locally on Fox Sports West and nationally on ESPN.  Also on ESPN Radio 710am.

Darius Soriano

Posts

92 responses to Preview and Chat: The Utah Jazz

  1. Lakers just need to play with a sense of urgency and focus on both ends of the court tonight. Everyone, haters and fans now have a microscope on the lakers. Lakers almost always come out on top when faced with adversity. They can do it now.

  2. Kobe’s extension.

  3. According to Woj and Spears, Kobe has reached an agreement on a 3 year extension

    http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=Aqb4r_0dbW5dpM4YxoOP4jS8vLYF?slug=ys-kobeextension040210

  4. michael zarabi April 2, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    How much did he extend for?

    Did he give a hometown discount? (Highly doubt it)

  5. The photo for this post speaks volumes. What are the odds that Kobe didn’t get an and 1 for that?

  6. Sedale (Threatt?).. rough estimate? 3.7% chance a foul was called on that play.

  7. Indeed, it has been announced that Kobe Bryant has come to terms on a three year contract extension to stay on with the Lakers. And while the terms of the deal have not yet been released, some are reporting the deal is in the range of $90 million. That’s some major coin. We’ll have more details up as we get them over the next several days. But for now, rejoice. Because while this deal was never really in question, it’s great news to have #24 locked up through the 2013-14 season.

  8. Just another piece of the LBJ to LA puzzle?

  9. puts phil j in an interesting place. if most people are looking at a potential lockout in 2 years, i wonder if there is an option after 2. and i would imagine that kills a lot of the lebron chatter, which seemed tough to start with, but not impossible.

  10. Looks like a max extension for Kobe taking him up to his 36th birthday. This could come back to bite the Lakers in the ass. No doubt Kobe is gunning for the career and single-season earnings records.

  11. Let’s all hope that Kobe’s signing puts a positive spin on things. It’s clear that even Kobe believes his best chance of winning multiple titles is right here in LA. Good job Mitch.

    Now get B-Scott on the bench as PJ’s right hand man and to start grooming him to take over the reins when Phil’s ready to retire.

  12. Wow, $30 million plus a no-trade clause for a 35-year old Kobe who is already in decline at 31?

    I might like that even less than $20 million for a 33-year, 7-footer Gasol who in his prime is a 2nd banana.

    Between Kobe, Gasol, & Artest- the Lakers are committed to nearly $60 mil in ’13-14, with Bynum a free agent going into that same year.

    Well, here’s to winning now.

  13. j.d. Hastings April 2, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    The extension news helps my mind a lot. One of the things that multiplied my recent angst was the uncertainty about Kobe and Phil.

    Kobe looked pissed on the floor recently. He has to know the score and we’ve seen him freak out about being “stuck” with inferior talent before. I wasn’t sure if he would try to use his contract uncertainty the way he had in 2004 or 2007. Especially with PJ a question mark.

    I was worried that not only were the lakers struggling now but a disappointing showing could result in summer armageddon.

    The fact that he was willing to sign this in the midst of the issues we’ve seen tells me that he’s not freaking out on that level, and tells me that with or without PJ we will have this core at least until Pau is up (after next year?).

    I still want PJ to come back, but I hope this will help him decide. And if it doesn’t, we have a veteran team that can self-manage even without him (please no Byron Scott though).

    I still don’t know how to address our bench or PG situation with our salaries, but the greater sword of Damocles has been removed and I can take this as just a frustrating stretch.

  14. j.d. Hastings April 2, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    10- Zephid-

    I agree to a point but not really. I always knew Kobe would have a hard time sensing when the time was up (and an even harder time adjusting his role Jason Kidd style). But I also accepted that sometimes a few years of a struggling older team is worth it out of respect to what a career player has given your squad.

    Just like San Antonio should be willing to put up with some less effective play from Duncan in his dotage (though I think he will adjust better to role changes a la David Robinson).

    Plus we already have Ron Artest for FIVE YEARS and Odom for 3 or 4. We were always going to be old in 3 years. The difference between us an the Celtics, though, is we got all of Kobe’s prime in exchange, not 1 good year.

  15. Wait, does this mean Lakers aren’t getting LeBron? :-)

    Contract or no, this team needs to start playing like one or Kobe’s legacy isn’t going to be what he’d like.

  16. As happy as I am to have Kobe signed for the future, it seems to me that it removes some of his ability to pressure the Busses to keep Phil Jackson around.

    (I’m far from certain that that’s something Kobe wanted to do, and there’s something to be said for Kobe staying out of front office decisions, but it does seem to avoid a simple solution where Kobe plays the “it’s a package deal” card.)

  17. I’ll have more on what Kobe’s extension means financially for the Lakers’ payroll when we actually get some hard numbers and I can look at the cap, but I think this is good news. Losing Kobe is not an option for this organization and to avoid it you do what’s necessary. If there’s one player that earns his salary (what with the boost he provides in merchandise sales and at the gate and how that affects parking and concessions and the whole nine) it’s Kobe.

  18. Thank goodness! Now everyone will start making their threes!!

  19. Glad he got the extension, I didn’t really think he’d bolt though. seems like people were hyping that up just as they did in 2007. It’s a nice positive vibe to send as the Lakers are in the midst of some struggles heading into the playoffs.

    I can’t wait to see the figures though.
    He’s the main guy on the team but Gasol and Bynum got a lot of $$ for their extensions, and I hope the team can have more depth top to bottom than this season… I wonder thought, if he’s getting max money that will limit managements ability to make moves, and he’ll be getting into his twilight years, and if he continues playing with the myriad of nagging injuries, it really might not be primo situation for him or the Lakers.

    It would be really cool to find out that Kobe is going to take a cut so the team could secure more talent down the road. Plus as a PR move, it would send a message he’s committed to winning and team first…But then again, more power to him whatever the figures are, there’s just one Kobe out there and he’s on our team. and hopefully he’ll get to retire as a Laker his whole career after winning a few more championships!

    for tonight’s game
    When Lakers play Utah, I always look for LO to have a good game because they absolutely cannot guard him off the dribble.

  20. Boozer is one of those rare guys who like to go to his off hand on drives, meaning he like to go to his left. I think we need to force him to go right, no?

    Just a thought.

  21. exhelodrvr +1000! hahaha

  22. j. d. hastings April 2, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    LOL exhelodrvr, I know Jordan Farmar had said its hard for him to concentrate on his role while worrying about the state of Kobe’s contract

  23. 17,
    Whether Kobe “earns” his salary in the narrow financial sense in which you’re using the term isn’t the interesting question. What is interesting is how this contract will affect the quality of team the Lakers can field in the future. In a basketball sense, I don’t think anybody in the league, Lebron included, “earns” a $30 million dollar salary. A salary like that severely limits a GM’s options. $30 million is the cost of a franchise player and a solid #3 option. Kobe’s good, but he’s not *that* good, and he’s not going to get “better” (he’ll find skillful ways of overcoming his declining athleticism–but he will become less and less dominant). If the league had an MLB style salary structure, this conversation would be a little different. But the NBA rules being what they are, the money in this contract scares me.

  24. Kobe needs to celebrate the new contract with a 40+ point game. It’s been a while since he had one of those. And it is the day after you sign your extension and also the day that you play your beloved Utah and happen to be going through a considerable funk as a team.

    Kobe’s 40 outburst is my wish for this game

  25. I would prefer a W.

  26. #23. Like I said, I’ll get into those details a bit later. Obviously it’s a bit more complex than him just earning what he makes. But, the point that he makes the Lakers a ton of money can’t be argued.

  27. Of course with a W. I have no doubt in my mind that the Lakers are winning this game today. And the entire plot for it (team resurgence game after coming home from a brutal trip, statistically high cumulative probability that the bench will show up and also the fact that Kobe has a good reason to drop 40

  28. I just don’t get very much all this doubt around saying that kobe will be some grandpa when he’s being paid 30M at 35 or 36.

    Yes let’s be realistic, it’s the cost all athletes pay, but please let’s not jump ahead and see beyond what kobe can still be doing for us at that age — he can actually still be a 24-25pt guy, giving you the leadership, giving the intangibles, giving you the money off merchandise and keeping the fanbase on its feet. i would take him even if he were some 16-17 pt guy simply because he transitioned well into the bynum-pau era (wow) or whoever dares takes his place as face of the franchise.

    or maybe he does decline to garnett levels, hampered by injury (i think not), and lower in PERs (or what stats have you). that’s a gamble we must take.

    so many what ifs at such an early time. i know think long term, but i’d rather do some tweaking at the bench side, always believing we need a wing scorer and 3 point gunner off that bench when the right FA or trade comes along than say we made a mistake at kobe (or ship him out by age 35 what an expiring contract!).

    appreciate.

    so right now, breathe in. the guy is a walking medical checklist. when healthy, when rested, and when happy (i think this is a step towards that) he could be so much more. we have more or less a first 5 lineup locked that at maybe at any time in the next 2-3 years will remain second to none. what a blessing!

    if i were some young fan, i’d say go out kobe and drop 40 on utah and prove something. but thanks kurt and the bloggers here, here’s to kobe doing an efficient triple-double on utah…niiiiccceee!

    GO LAKERS!

  29. Back to our recent struggles…

    I recently heard an interesting interview with Doc Rivers of all people. He was being interviewed by someone at ESPN and they asked him about what it was like trying, and failing, to repeat as champions last year.

    He said that after winning the title in 2008, he talked to a lot of people and that the most poignant and prophetic information he got was from Michael Jordan.

    Jordan told him that the hardest part about repeating is keeping your role players playing their roles. After a summer of being the champs, your stars are still your stars, but your role players have had their profiles raised to new levels and now aren’t as interested in doing all the little things that made them great role players when you won.

    It seems to fit what we’re seeing with the Lakers this season.

    Another thing that seems to me to be a big difference this year is the lack of Tex Winters. There’s no one out there grabbing even the stars and saying, “You did that completely wrong, you moron.” No one – save maybe Phil – has the guts to do that to someone like Kobe or Pau directly. Phil will take sideswipes, but I really think the raw, harsh honesty of Winters is what we’re lacking and that’s showing as well.

    Anyway, I think we get our feet back under us tonight…but not in the fashion we want. We’ll jump out on the Jazz, get lazy, and have to work hard to hold it together later. I expect our 1.5 quarters of excellence tonight to get us the win before we lose focus and go back to being lazy and uninterested.

  30. Few players are worth $30 million. Kobe is one of those. Not only for his work on the court but off the court.

    While other Lakers like LO and Ron are hosting party’s before the Atlanta and NO games Kobe is getting up early to come to the court 3 hours beofre the game to work on his shot.

    If only the rest of the team had his desire to be great we would be unbeatable.

  31. Ouch… I still think 40 defines Kobe more than a triple-double. Let’s face it, Kobe is an automatic scorer when he is on top of his game. He is fully capable of having a triple if he wanted to, but I think it is in Kobe’s nature to go for 40. That is his signature. He drops points on people and teams.

  32. Let’s hope Kobe celebrates his new contract extension by winning the 2010 Finals MVP award!

  33. Matt R.@ 29

    What a great post. It makes a lot of sense.

  34. lets cheer for rockets!

  35. I hope the Lakers come out with some urgency tonight and start playing like the NBA champs and put a complete game together.

  36. I like the start. Good defense and Fisher hitting shots.

  37. wow. They came to play tonight!

  38. not watching but following box score. are the lakers just dominating on defense or are the jazz missing a bunch of open shots?

  39. Lakers are hustling on defense and contesting every shot.

    I sense a Sasha appearance.

  40. Did Jeff Van Gundy say Kyle Korver is tougher than he looks? The guy already looks like the ultimate Sith Lord, how much more hard-nosed can he get?

    Now the fun will be seeing how long the Lakers can keep their feet on the gas. Love the activity on defense so far, especially running guys off the 3-point line.

  41. PAU 5,5,4 in the first quarter.. what a talent

  42. Best quarter by the Lakers in a long time. They are aggressive on both ends of the floor. Great start to this game

  43. We really need to work on our bench for next year. I’d like to see us getting some of those veteran pickups that always help other teams. PJ Brown (circa 2008) or Joe Smith types. I love Powell, but the guy has reached Adam Morrison levels this year.

    I wonder what cartoon Walton’s doodling tonight.

  44. So far, so good. Only one truly horrible shot from the Farmar/Brown combo so far.

  45. Maybe Kobe promised the team some of his $90 million!

    big win for Spurs over Orlando.

  46. The offensive execution has stopped, now it’s just jumpshots off the dribble.

  47. Spoke too soon, a couple of bad possessions and turnovers from Farmar, as well as some pretty poor defense.

  48. The Lakers need to go back into the post to Gasol. As long as the ball just swings around the perimeter the possession will end in a jumper with the clock winding down.

  49. Any rythm or momentum the lakers built up in the first quarter is now completely gone. They stopped moving the basketball and have decided to shoot contested jumpers

  50. Glad Fish can shoot tonight cause Williams might score 50 on him.

    No wait make that 82

  51. 50, are we watching the same game? Out of Brown, Farmar, and Fisher, Fisher has defended Williams the best. He scored 1 bucket and 2 free throws against Fisher, everything else was against Farmar and Brown.

  52. OK I meant our guards.

  53. “They got a lot of momentum in the start of the 2nd quarter.” – Kobe

    In other words, our bench played like crap and let the Jazz back in the game.

  54. “They got a lot of momentum going into the second quarter.”

    Kobe-speak for “Our bench = epic FAIL.”

    Edit: 53 – lmao great minds…or frustrated ones, in this case…

  55. #12—–How exactly is Kobe “in-decline”? He’s averaging 27+ ppg, 5 assists, 5 rebounds…pretty far from “decline”. And he’s doing this on a busted hand, not to mention a tweaked ankle and who knows what else.

    Prior to that injury, everyone was talking about he was basically dominating in the post—the man is nowhere near decline.

    Anyway, tonight’s game is proving that even when Kobe is not hitting his shots, the Lakers go as the rest of the guys go. When they put forth maximum effort, they hand the Jazz that 1st quarter. When they slop off a bit and miss assignments and rotations- you get the 2nd quarter.

  56. Decent 1st half considering Kobe can’t find his rythm ….. He should be attacking the rim & stop settling for jumpers ….. Pau needs to be more aggressive against these slower (Okur) and smaller (Boozer/Milsap) defenders ….. Gotta find a way to contain D. Williams ….. After the 1st quarter, took our foot off the gas (2nd unit) ….. Need to come out & bumrush them to begin the 3rd

  57. Man, PJ is laying into Fisher for that PUJIT.

  58. Consider how we would be if Kobe wasen’t shooting 25%

  59. Hey did Kobe and Fisher change uniforms?

  60. my god is Brown becoming worthless.

    Hard to believe sasha can’t be better.

  61. is there anyone left in the league the Lakers can beat easy?

  62. Lamar with a key three point play to give the Lakers some breathing room

  63. I wonder how long Sasha’s punishment will be. I’d really like to see him get some burn before the playoffs, meaningful time would be nice. I know he’s been relegated to a sub-role player, and the brush with B. Shaw didn’t help…but you can’t help but wonder that if they even plan to play him in the playoffs, and if so, he needs some time or we would all be foolish to expect an ice cold machine to perform in the second season.

    Did one of the announcers (Van Gundy), just say Kobe’s deal was for 27M/per? I just caught the end of it. I’ll DVR to check and edit…

    Edit: Nope, talking about LO’s contract, my bad.

  64. You wouldn’t think it possible, but Farmar, Brown, and Powell are playing so horrible right now, that it doesn’t matter if it’s only one of them in the game at a time. Whenever even just one of them is on the floor, our team just plays like crap.

  65. The Lakers bench has been dreadful again. Farmar, Brown, Powell – 4/12 FG’s for 10 points, 8 fouls, 4 turnovers. Yikes.

  66. damn, Odom is great when he doesn’t party the night before a game!

  67. can you believe Kobe has missed 15 of 16!!!!!

  68. If we win this, game ball goes to the Candyman for sure.

  69. Mark Jackson has the innate ability to make me cringe every time we go to commercial. “Excuse me, Mr. Boozer, I have an appointment with the rim.” Wtf?

    I am really liking the way Fish has played after Phil chewed him out. Nothing spectacular – but Fish has trashed the long jumpers and started driving and kicking. Normally Fish driving is a bad thing, because he’ll force up awful shots and get stuffed, but he’s actually been under control – a little bit of penetration and then a kickout. And those kickouts have been starting some smooth ball movement that has resulted in good final shots.

  70. When LO plays like this, the Lakers are a beast to be delt with…

  71. Wow, Bench play needs to improve. They are a bit spoiled by the starting five. Do they ever want to eventually upgraded to being a starter? seems like they have the mentality that their sole job is to just keep leads or blow them slowly.

  72. Well…here’s Sash’s 3:03 of glory…

  73. Sasha?? The wrath of Brian Shaw is over!

  74. Lakers great response when the Jazz got close in the 4thQ leads to Sasha playing in the game.

  75. Sasha for MVP

  76. Now will this game, like the Spurs game, be an excuse to relax and mail in another few games? Or will the focus stay? With this team, you can never be sure.

  77. No, Sasha only came in because it was a blowout. He’s still in the doghouse I’d wager.

  78. Nice W!!!

    Great to see Lamar tear it up like that. Wish he did that as often as we all know he can- the Lakers would be the clear, undisputed #1 if he did.

  79. Brown a stellar 3-11. Apparently he is one of the Lakers’ primary scoring options.

    I am convinced he has incriminating photos of Phil.

  80. LO was a plus 30 tonight.

    On the other hand Powell somehow managed to be a minus 14.

    Amazing what Lo can do when he is not hosting parties the night before.

    He is avaraging 7 more points at home then the road. hummmmm?

  81. I didn’t watch the game but I followed the play by play on my phone and caught the second quarter on the radio but it looks like post 29 Matt R almost predicted this game exactly. He said the lakers would play well for 1.5 quarters and win the game that way. Great first quarter and they ended the game on really well. But I definitely happy with this win. They came out against the #2 seed before the game and won. And they also made hollinger look foolish in the process. But I’m still not sold on the bench. Particularly Shannon. I keep saying he needs to be a catch a shoot guy and nothing more. He runs around like a chicken with his head cut off on the offensive end. Correct me if I’m wrong but from what I heard in the second quarter he was just over dribbling and not making any plays.

    But what’s the news on bynum?

  82. I’m proud of both pau and l.o. tonight.

    Both players showed a lot of initiative and determination. they imposed their will on the game. pau’s defense and presence in the paint, plus odom on the offensive end, were altogether brilliant.

  83. K.I.S. (Keeping It Simple): Solid victory, but not thoroughly impressed because when it comes to the Jazz (who we always beat on our home-court), besides D. Williams, all match-ups favor us. Standing Ovations for LO, Pau & Fish. Regardless if it was in garbage time (isn’t it always), good to see Sasha finally get some burn. Look 4ward to seeing Luke on Sunday with a B-ball in his hands instead of a clipboard. Anyway, on to the next one: Spurs.

    Laker 4 Life ….. Go Hard Or Go Home

  84. @Joel i dont understand, ive seen him, at least once everygame go full force until he gets just passed the free throw line and then litterally stop, he used to go full force and dunk(throw it down), which is what made him dangerous, im hoping and think he will get past this wall he’s hit (no pun intended), Lets go Shannon! I knew our boys would pull through today, Odom’s Odometer was on premium, Here’s for the team going undefeated these last games – go Lakers

  85. Ken/Aaron and all you Derek Fisher bashers: What happened? No comments? Aren’t any of you going to explain how Derek almost lost this game for the Lakers?

    I thought we saw a playoff level Derek Fisher tonight. It was not overly surprizing, but wonderful to see.

  86. One of the things that Kobe has done this season is incorporate post moves into his mid-range game.

    A few times tonight on the baseline at about 15-20 feet he used his back to the basket, tossed a dream shake move and then went to his spinning fade-away jumper.

    I have no idea how ANYONE would defend that combination.

    Unreal.

  87. Yeah honestly- #86—if Kobe was hitting his shots this evening at something even sort of resembling his usual clip…the Lakers would have absolutely BRUTALIZED the Jazz. The moves were there, the looks were good—the shots just didn’t fall.

    Also, Gasol’s passes to Odom were a joy to see. I love when Odom dunks hard on somebody and then does his little knees-up Odom dance back up the court.

  88. #23,

    You’re just not right about your comment. Some players ARE worth $30m. Lebron James and Kobe are probably worth $50 or even $60 million. When there is a cap on a wage and the individual makes the cap, it means that he is worth that cap or higher. That’s what the market says he is worth at that time. Now, is it possible that he is a bust? Perhaps. But with the talent, and potential, that’s wwhat the value is.

    Businesses like the Lakers are not in the business of throwing money away. If they do, they will be out of business shortly. They pay that money because they understand that they will make MORE money on the person they are paying. Or at least they believe it. Otherwise, why wouldn’t they give you or me $30m? Perhaps Kobe was really nice to Buss one day in the street? Or helped Buss’ kid in his math homework? No, i think the better explanation is that he is actually worth it.

  89. 85,
    Lololololol. As JVG said… this was not the normal game for Derek Fisher a “37 % shooter.” If anything games like this really show how much he hurts the team as we can all see the difference when he actually makes his wide open shots.

  90. ddrayeye

    You act like we don’t want Fish to play good. I was thrilled with his game last night. I noticed a adjustment in his hands with his jump shot. Compare it on tape you will see its more upright then before. Maybe Shaw noticed something.

    My life would be so simple if Fish’s 37% shooting was like last night and LO was the monster he was last night.

    But then again I also hope for no taxes, end of war, LJames retires for football, my son will do his homework, my wife will stop cursing in Serbian at me, blah blah blah.

    Probably not getting any of the above things.

  91. Ken,
    I am torn… as much as I would like for the Lakers to not have to compete against Lebron I love watching him play basketball too much to want him to retire. That would just be too selfish of Lakers fans. Now if we face him in the Finals I hope he turns an ankle.