Lakers/Jazz: Fourth-Quarter Collapse

Rey Moralde —  February 4, 2012

Box Score: Lakers 87, Jazz 96
Offensive Efficiency: Lakers 103.6, Jazz 114.3
True Shooting %: Lakers 53.3%, Jazz 52.5%

The Good:
For most of the first 3 quarters, Andrew Bynum looked dominant. Nobody from the Jazz seemed capable of stopping his offense. He finished with another monster game with 21 points, 12 boards, and 2 blocks. We can’t ignore Pau Gasol’s production also… and while he took a team-leading 20 shots, he did finish with an even better statline (24 points, 16 rebounds, 2 blocks). He noticeably shortarmed a lot of his shots (including his freethrows) but, nevertheless, he had a good game, overall.

It was nice to see the Lakers’ Big 3 all get over 20 points. They also got to the line quite a bit (30 freethrow attempts by the Lakers compared to 20). They kept the game close for the first three quarters (biggest lead during that time frame was 6 by the Lakers). But the game is played with four quarters (insert very played-out LeBron James joke here).

The Bad:
Lakers shot 38.7%. Bad.

The Lakers lost their composure. We can all look at Mike Brown getting ejected after that play where Earl Watson pickpocketed Pau Gasol from behind (which looked more like a tackle). It got the Energy Solutions Arena crowd into it and the Lakers succumbed to a 16-1 Jazz run spearheaded by Watson himself (who had 8 points and 11 assists overall). The Lakers couldn’t execute in the fourth (heck, in the second half) like they did in the first half… and they couldn’t make a shot to save their lives.

While the Lakers did play well enough to keep the game close in those three quarters, Kobe Bryant looked like he was doing more bad than good during that time frame. He worked way too hard trying to get up a shot early and had two careless fouls in the third quarter. His aggressiveness seemed to work against him rather than for him. But it didn’t seem like much of a factor at the time as the game was close.

Late offensive boards killed any sign of a Laker comeback in the waning seconds. The Jazz beat up the Lakers on the boards, 50-42. And well… the Jazz, despite the Lakers’ big men getting big numbers, beat up the Lakers inside. Al Jefferson had 18 points and 13 boards while Paul Millsap had 16 and 13 to keep up with Bynum and Gasol.

Andrew Goudelock, who has been pretty good over the last few games, finished 1 for 5 (4 points). His misses were not pretty. And, by the way, can we stop with the Mini-Mamba nickname? Please? It’s horrendous.

Also, the Lakers only had 12 dimes (Jazz had 25). So much for ball movement.

Oh, yes. I know I haven’t mentioned that they got in late (4 A.M.). But it really shouldn’t be an excuse.

The Ugly:
As mentioned, Earl Watson led the Jazz to a 16-1 run early in the 4th. The Lakers didn’t make a field goal until 5:56 left when Kobe made the first of back-to-back 3-pointers.

We were thinking in the past few games that the bench may be all right since Goudelock has been carrying the load. With Goudelock not producing, the Laker bench only scored 12 points. It looks way worse when the Jazz bench scored a whopping 49 points. So as mentioned by fellow writer Zephid… if Goudelock goes, so do the Lakers? Pass me the alc… apple juice.

The Play Of The Game:
Bynum had the pass of his life when, after he hustled to get the ball after a Derek Fisher miss, he threw a no-look, over-the-shoulder pass underneath to Pau Gasol for the dunk. It was really pretty and it was nice to see the All-Star starter (YES! ALL-STAR STARTER!) make that kind of play.

Lakers go to Philadelphia next to continue on their six-game road trip. But the Lakers… well, they’re so Jekyll and Hyde. One game, they look like a pretty awesome squad. The next, they’ll lay an egg. I wonder which team we’re going to get against the Sixers.

At least, they won against Denver?

Rey Moralde