Preview and Chat: The Utah Jazz

Phillip Barnett —  April 5, 2011

Records: Lakers 55-21 (2nd in West), Jazz 36-41 (11th in West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 111.6 (4th in NBA), Jazz 110.3 (11th in NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 104.2 (6th in NBA), Jazz 110.3 (24th in NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Derek Fisher, Kobe Bryant, Ron Artest, Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum
Jazz: Earl Watson, C.J. Miles, Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson, Kyrylo Fesenko
Injuries: Lakers: Devin Ebanks (out); Jazz: Devin Harris, Raja Bell, Andrei Kirilenko, Memhet Okur, Ronnie Price (all out)

Utah Jazz Blogs: Check out Salt City Hoops and The Utah Jazz Blog for great coverage of this team.

Keys To The Game: The Lakers faced this same Jazz team less than a week ago, so the memory of that awful first quarter is still ingrained in our memories — and those early game woes are exactly what the Lakers need to eliminate in this contest. Sure, the Lakers went into the second quarter only down six points, but they were fortunate that the Jazz missed their last four shots to allow them to close what was once a 24-13 lead for Utah. So how did the Jazz get off to that fast start? Two things: C.J. Miles and offensive rebounding. I asked Clint Peterson of The Utah Jazz Blog about those things specifically:

FB&G: C.J. Miles had a great first half against the Lakers. What is it that he does that was so tough for the Lakers to defend, and what do you think the Lakers should do to better defend him tonight?

Clint Peterson: The entire Jazz team came out aggressive forcing the ball into the paint in the first quarter, especially Miles. A look at the shot chart shows Miles with a nice cluster of penetration buckets early on in the game. When Miles is instead kept on the perimeter and forced into contested jumpers, as the Lakers’ defense began doing from the second stanza onward, Utah’s offense stalls out.

 

The FG% percentages as well as the shot chart bear this out. In the first, Utah shot 50%, the second 33%, the third 37%. The Lakers’ defense went into lockdown mode in the paint after the initial bloodied nose they received.

FB&G: Al Jefferson and Fes did a great job on the boards in the previous matchup. How can they translate their positive rebounding numbers into a closer game and/or win tonight?

CP: It’s no secret that rebounding has been an Achilles heel for the Jazz this season, so in hindsight what many of us considered an April Fool’s Day joke being played on us when Fes starting was first announced instead began to make sense when the Jazz corralled 28 first-half rebounds. That’s 72% of the team’s usual rebounds claimed for an entire game in a single half. Against the lengthy Lakers no less. Jefferson and Fesenko collected nearly half of those rebounds on their own, 12 of ‘em. They would only nab six more between ‘em in the second half. On the flip side, Andrew Bynum had only one first-half rebound, and Pau Gasol four. Bynum would finish out the second half by quadrupling his rebounds, grabbing four, and Gasol five more. Throw in glass-eater Lamar Odom’s seven boards since the start of the second period and the Lakers closed the game down only five on the glass, 39-44.??The Jazz netted 15 offensive rebounds in the last meeting. Unfortunately, many of those were due to poor shots in the first place, so Utah needs to have a better shot selection and better ball movement. The Jazz are always at or near tops in assists. Not that time. The Jazz had only 15 dimes as a team, indicating that when they were hot they were hot, but when not… [You can read the full Q&A session here]

 

Let’s take a look at some video to further illustrate Peterson’s points. First, Clint pointed out that C.J. Miles was aggressively getting into the paint in the first quarter, which may be an understatement considering Miles made five field goals in the opening period, four of which were in the paint. The bothersome part about Miles 10 first quarter points was the fact that the Lakers gave him the points instead of forcing him into more difficult shots. Three of his 1st quarter baskets came in transition, two of them because of forced turnovers. One of them came off an isolation where Kobe was beat off the dribble and Pau rotated late. This suggests several flaws in the Lakers game early: Sloppy taking care of the ball, lazy transition defense and a lack of attention to detail. Check the video:

 

Along with Miles, the Lakers allowed too many offensive rebounds in the first quarter — six of them! For a team that has the ninth worst offensive rebound rate differential and the seventh worst total rebound rate in the league, you could say that the Lakers were awfully pathetic on the boards in the first quarter. On four of those offensive rebounds, the guy rebounding the ball didn’t have to work for that rebound, meaning no Laker put a body on him to box out. Again, we’re talking about lazy efforts and lack of attention to detail. Clint mentioned that the Jazz shot 50 percent in the first quarter, what he didn’t mention is that the Jazz earned three extra field goals after offensive rebounds, and if you take away all of the Jazz field goal attempts after offensive rebounds, the Jazz only shot 43.4 percent. Look at the tape:

This is a Lakers team that is clearly superior in terms of talent, meaning that if they take care of business early, this could be a night where the Lakers fans leave Staples in search of free tacos. For three straight games now, the Lakers have found themselves down early, fighting upward battles from the second quarter and beyond. The next step for this team in preparation for the post season should be getting off to good early starts, and tonight is a fantastic night to start.

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

Phillip Barnett

Posts

76 responses to Preview and Chat: The Utah Jazz

  1. Let’s hope the Lakers jump on them early.

    Before the Denver loss, I thought the Lakers began to look disinterested. For many of the recent games, the Lakers fell behind early and had to claw their way back before hitting one of their notorious second half runs.

    Let’s hope the Spurs lose to the Hawks today. Atlanta has become a joke, but they recently beat Boston and Orlando.

    Oh, and I’d love to see Kobe slam one on Fesenko’s head. Miles, like Shannon, has only ONE go-to move. Dribble, step back fadeaway. Hopefully, Bynum will exert his dominance on the Jazz frontcourt early, either through rebounding, blocking, or just overpowering them.

  2. yea lets hope they do come out on them early and lets also hope that they got that denver lost behind them..

  3. #2. Fixed. Thanks for the heads up.

  4. #5. Not that I feel we’re completely out of the woods with this, but Gasol is going to play but his minutes will be monitored.

  5. 6) That’s good news.

  6. Wanted to share two links I found interesting. First is Bynum’s Twitter response to Amare Stoudemire calling Pau soft:

    http://twitter.com/AndrewBynum/status/54577154729578496

    And the second one is a fun little piece regarding the surging Nuggets and chemistry… or rather alchemy:

    http://hoopspeak.com/2011/04/denver-carmelo-alchemy/

  7. While Amare had a better series statistically than Pau did in last season’s WCF, the Suns were forced to play zone because he couldn’t handle Pau one on one in the first two games. And I don’t see Amare going 19 and 18 in a Game 7 vs the Celtics like Pau did. As Tony Kornheiser just said, don’t take shots at opposing players when you’re in a Foot Locker. Just buy your shoes and get out of there.

  8. Calling Pau soft is lame and played out. Nice to see Drew step in and appropriately son Amare

  9. Not worried about Amare “I don’t like rebounding” Stoudamire. I just want to see the Lakers put away the Jazz as early as possible so Pau can take it easy on the knee. This is the first of a back to back so there is no need to toy around with this team.

  10. Not worried about Amare either.

    He’s not getting anywhere near an NBA Finals unless he buys a ticket.

  11. I love Bynum protecting Gasol off the court… But I’d also like to see him follow suit on it as well. Whenever a bigger player pushes Pau around it would be nice to see big Drew go right back at him when given the chance.

  12. There’s no reason to worry about whether the Lakers have each other’s backs on the court.

    We’ve seen plenty to demonstrate that recently, whether it was Lamar, Shannon and Barnes circling Beasley to keep him from going after Drew or Barnes shoving Terry after his cheap shot on Blake. Team unity isn’t an issue.

  13. 10, even when I say it to his twitter-face?

    ZephidFB_G
    @paugasol that was a soft play dude.
    27 Mar via web

  14. COMON SUNS!

  15. link?

    i’ll never forgive NPA LPBB for blacking out games on NBA TV. WTF.

  16. Average first quarter, and no other teams playing today did us any favours regarding the standings. I was really hoping that the Suns would end up getting it done, but it obviously wasn’t meant to be.

  17. Ugh…looks like an NCAA Finals game broke out

  18. how we are only up 6 is beyond me

  19. What a strange half. Hoping we see a little more success on the offensive end after the break. It felt like Drew had his shot blocked a fair bit, and Kobe just didn’t shoot.

    Happy to be in the lead after such an odd half of basketball.

  20. This is pathetic. Glad to know the team cares about this game.

  21. Is Kobe interested in playing this game?

  22. Is anyone?!

  23. Highlight of the night, Andrew Bynum has a new career high in rebounds

  24. Not exactly sure what I’m watching here. Baffling basketball.

    Just hoping to wrap the night up with a W at this point.

  25. I’m being totally serious: how long has it been since Luke Walton hit a FG?

  26. Since the last time you gave me a hug Jane.

  27. We should just start cheering for the Hornets and against the Grizzlies.

  28. Well I’ve actually started cheering for the Jazz…

  29. Please get F-Luke Walton out of the game. Why in heavens name was he even IN the game?! Anything wrong with Matt Barnes?

  30. I do not know why Luke is even on the floor tonight, he can not hit the side of a barn, two feet away. I also can not believe that this depleted Jazz team is taking the Lakers down to whoever makes the last shot, wins the game.

  31. No surprise to see Drew get that rebounding career-high. More bricks than a building site tonight.

  32. Not sure about the Lakers, but this Bynum kid looks alright.

  33. @29 LOL!!!!

    So mad right now, needed a laugh.

  34. Way to let this stiff, Hayward, eat us up. Wow.

  35. I pity anyone who paid money for Lakers tix over the past two. Unless you’re a Nuggets or Jazz fan, of course.

  36. Draw one up for Pau, Phil. Come on. Use Kobe as decoy.

  37. I’d get Bynum in there to clean up the boards in the event of a miss.

  38. Well, this game will come down to the last six seconds, Lakers have the ball at mid-court, I feel good about this, somehow.

    Edit: Oh well, Kobe with the turnover and another Laker loss.

  39. Oh. My.
    Goodness.

  40. I’m heartbroken.

  41. Oh. My. Effing. Goodness.

  42. That was embarrassing.

  43. Good. They got what they deserved. I really hope this game comes back to bite them in the ass somehow. Serves them right.

    Can’t wait to hear the standard loser excuses tonight. I’m sure Lamar will come up with one. “Just one of those games, we’ll be alright”. They just lost to a sh*tbox team missing half its players!

  44. watching hayward outplay kobe in the fourth quarter was a disturbing thing to see. not worried, but wow that was jarring…disappointing loss.

  45. Hey Mr. Clutch! We’re trying to defend you against all the people who say you stink in the last two minutes…we’re really trying…

    BUT YOU’RE MAKING IT REALLY F-ING HARD!

  46. kehntangibles April 5, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    ugh. ah well, just have to regroup and finish strong. We were probably way overdue for a bad game. More to the point though – how did Pau look? Did his knee look like it’d be a big problem going forward?

  47. So… Is everyone ok with the 2nd seed? Seems like that’s our destiny right now…

  48. Are the Lakers repeating last year’s finish to the season? Now home court against Boston or Miami in the finals is in jeopardy

  49. It was more than likely we’d end up with 2nd seed in the west – we still need to be staying focused on staying ahead of Boston and Miami since our margin just shrank. Maybe the Mav’s 3 game slide made us lose a little focus

  50. Are we still looking at a 2001 type playoff run here?

  51. Tomorrow night’s game really matters now.

    LAKERS 55-22
    BOSTON 54-23
    MIAMI 54-23

    And of course Miami has the tiebreaker.

  52. Couple thoughts…

    Kobe had a horrible, horrible basketball game on both ends, no way to sugar coat that.

    I can live with Shannon Brown’s shot selection but his lack of defensive intensity and awareness is really starting to annoy me.

    Why is Phil Jackson pretending Luke Walton is still an NBA basketball player?

    If this is who Andrew Bynum is then I apologize to fellow laker fans for even considering a Melo-Bynum trade as a good idea.

  53. This team will get through any West team as long as Bynum can continue to play like a monster the way he usually has been. The Heat are the only team in the East that worries me to death and I dont care if they dont have a big man, we need to finish ahead of the Heat.

  54. It’s not so much the having the two seed in the west that bothers me (especially since it’s unsure that SAS will necessarily even make it to the conf finals); it’s not having home court in the finals I worry more about. I feel it’s most important in the 2-3-2 format.

  55. #46. I think everyone is disappointed with a loss like this. But why troll with hopes of this team failing? I don’t get it. Not trying to tell you how to be a fan, but coming here and complaining in that manner after a bad game when the team has been top notch for nearly a month is in bad form.

  56. With six seconds on the clock, should not a speedy player just take it up the middle, and either get fouled for two FT’s, or make the layup, right?

    Bynum had a great night, anyway.

  57. Only thing I can think of is that Phil wants the 2 seed. If that wasn’t the case the Lakers best player would have been on the floor for the last three minutes. This team can’t defend or rebound without Bynum on the floor. The last two minutes of the game we have up wayntoo many easy points in the paint.

  58. @ 57

    Exactly–see #54. That is why this game was important. It was the “easiest” game left on the schedule.

  59. Sometimes the ball does not go in.

    Lakers shot pretty poorly, all across the board, with only Gasol (5-10) and Barnes (2-4) shooting even 50%.

    Fairly uncharacteristic, and with Bynum (5-13) and Lamar (5-12) shooting poorly, we really cannot even say it was nothing but bad shots… We got the bigs the ball for 35 looks, and only got 15 of them to drop.

    Shame to waste a good night (otherwise) by Bynum, with 39 minutes, a fantastic 23 rebounds (7 on offense) and a monstrous 4 blocks.

    Honestly, as badly as the Lakers shot tonight (38% overall, and 20% from three point land), it is only the excellent defense that kept it close.

    *shrugs*

    The bigs are healthy, Bynum is learning to be a BEAST game in and game out, and this is still just the regular season.

    I am really looking forward to the playoffs.

  60. Stupid loss, but we have to look at the bigger picture. Its almost playoff time.

    BTW,,,
    Is Barnes Hurt???
    Why the hell was Luke in the game???

  61. I hate these games when Bryant throws up brick after brick and then both he and gasol start losing the ball driving to the rim with arms flailing… it looks rather weak on both their parts…

  62. Difference down stretch: jazz drove to basket, Kobe settled for the hero shot. Lakers lose.

    All those GMs who say they’ll call Kobe’s # for the last shot need tonupdate their Rolodex.

    But I won’t blame this loss on Kobe. It was a team effort.

    Sorry, just needed to vent.

  63. I hate to say this but if I’m Andrew Bynum I’d be thinking, “I’m the best defensive player AND rebounder in the league right now, no one can guard me one on one and I’m not playing at the end of games?”

    Seriously, right now Bynum is a top ten player on the bench at the end of games.

  64. 58, you obviously don’t understand the fragile and complex mind of the troll.

    People deal with bad emotions differently; some people say “meh” and brush it off, others go off into a rage torrent. It’s all about the mental weakness.

    Once the playoffs start, no one will remember which games the Lakers lost in the regular season. Because in the end, with this Laker team, where they play does not matter at all; they can beat anyone, anywhere. It’s just a matter of whether they have the focus, execution, and effort to do so. Does home court advantage help? Sure it does, but the Lakers are good enough to win without it.

  65. It seems like Bynum struggles to score unless he gets position before the catch. If he’s catching it outside the paint as a primary creator he doesn’t seem to have the same one on one effectiveness as he used to.

    This would really help the second unit if he could create shots for people.

  66. not that I am disagreeing with the “Bynum-at-the-end-of-games” crowd, but… who do you sit?

    I agree that during the nuggets game, Bynum should have been in the game during that last free throw, but I can understand holding him out bc of his knee.

    And I didn’t get to watch tonight’s game, so Im not sure how it played out, but who would you sit?

  67. Is it me or has Kobe turned the ball over more often in late game situations recently?

  68. I agree Archon, but who comes out?

    Kobe? Get real. He would kill everyone in the arena if he was forced to sit in a close game.

    Gasol? Not a chance. He is far too good, far too often.

    Fisher? What a nightmare that would be. Fisher has made daggers far too often, in far too many big games, to not be in there.

    Odom? Too versatile, too hard to cover.

    Artest? Now we might be onto something… but can Lamar make up for Artest on the defensive end against players like Durant, Anthony, or James?

    In a close game, in the final two minutes, I would be very, very tempted to go big.

    Bynum, Gasol, Odom, Kobe, Fisher.

    Only against a team with an elite, big wing scorer (Miami, The Robber Barons, New York) would I leave Bynum on the bench for Artest.

    But, Phil dances with who he came with.

    It has worked 11 times so far, and only failed 2 times.

    Not bad, to say the least.

  69. i understand that having lamar on the floor to close games really allows kobe to operate more from the pinch-post/low block areas, which are areas that force defenses to make extremely tough decisions, and less on the extended wing, but i think phil may have to take a long, long look at giving drew some closing minutes. he was the best player on the floor during that 4th quarter, which is all i saw of the game, and the way our defense changed and the jazz attacked us when he left the game; it was night and day. provided, they had some success earlier in the 4th, but mostly because they were knocking down long jumpshots. and this couldn’t be coming from a bigger lamar fan, i really love his game and what he brings to the table. it’ll be interesting to see how phil handles this going forward. it’s definitely not a bad problem to have, in fact it’s a “good” one. i guess i just thought that drew deserved to be closing that one out but PJ has forgotten more basketball than i know.

  70. All I’m saying is I saw the look on Bynums face when he came out and I dropped my coffee cup like I just found out who Kaiser Soze is because I realized that this arrangement is not sustainable.

    If this is who Bynum really is now it would be unprecendented for someone that good to accept not playing at the end of games.

  71. ESPNLA has a pic up of Kobe staring at his hands in disgust. As Fisher, Gasol, and a couple of other guys have said, it is remarkable Kobe still does as much as he does with his fingers in the shape they are in.

  72. Barring injuries or the team going down 3-1 or 3-0 in a series, Phil is going to finish games with the same five he always does. Any changes like that will involve a new coach.

  73. The guy to sit is obviously Lamar Odom. Lamar is just too bad of a defender to have him in to close games and he easily gets pushed around when the game slows to a crawl in late game situations. He alsomis infamous for his inability to box out in key situations. The Lakers would have beat the Suns in game 6 years ago if not for Lamar’s laziness that resulted in a offensive rebound and Tim Thomas game tying three. And let’s face it… He isn’t known for being Mr. Clutch. Oh.. And there is that whole thing that of our three bigs he is the worst player. It seems pretty simple. Nothing against Lamar… He is a very good basketball player… But he isn’t as good as Bynum or Gasol.