Preview and Chat: The Utah Jazz

Emile Avanessian —  January 25, 2013

Records: Lakers 17-25 (12th in the West), Jazz 23-19 (7th in the West)
Offensive ratings: Lakers 105.5 (6th in the NBA), Jazz 103.6 (12th in the NBA)
Defensive ratings: Lakers 103.7 (t-19th in the NBA), Jazz 103.8 (21st in the NBA)
Projected Starting Lineups: Lakers: Steve Nash, Kobe Bryant, Metta World Peace, Earl Clark, Dwight Howard
Jazz: Jamaal Tinsley, Randy Foye, Marvin Williams, Paul Millsap, Al Jefferson
Injuries: Lakers: Jordan Hill (out), Steve Blake (out), Dwight Howard (probable); Jazz: Mo Williams (out), Raja Bell (out)

Our season starts TODAY.

Right?

Or are we like 2-2? Is this the last exhibition game? Maybe we’re already in the playoffs… Who knows? Whatever.

I am, as probably many of you are as well, a huge fan of Dynasty mode in NBA 2K(number). Picking a team – seldom a powerhouse, unless the plan is to tear it down to the studs, accumulate assets (I see ya, Daryl) – and reconstructing a winner in my own image. Assessing the “balance sheet,” identifying needs, wants, targets, potential deals. Embracing the struggle. Bear in mind, this is done with total awareness of the fact that I will sooner find myself flag bearer for the Albanian Olympic contingent than I will 60 games in with the juggernaut/plucky upstart I have so judiciously (like, 45 minutes) crafted (at least not without liberal use of “Simulate Game”).

And therein lies the rub of the real-life NBA. You’ve got to actually play the games. No Reset button. No “Simulate” that proxies the effort that the players should be putting forth. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – at some point you simply are what your record says you are.

For the 2012-13 Lakers, that point has long since disappeared in the rearview. We’ve waited. For Mike D’Antoni, for Steve Nash’s leg, for Dwight to regain beast mode, for the team to “get a few games under its belt.” We will continue to wait, because, well, what the hell else is there? The celebratory mood that permeated Lakerland last summer (you sick of those two words yet?), however, is no more. The numbers are the numbers. This is not “the best 17-25 team ever.” This is merely a 17-25 team, and probably not the best one ever. The names are recognizable. The results? Less so.

The statistically efficient offense is inconsistent and uninspiring. At both ends of the floor, turnovers continue to plague this team. Seldom is there both communication and effort on defense, and too often there is neither. The Lakers enter Friday night’s home tilt with the Jazz losers of 10 of 12 – the only wins a pair of triumphs at home over lackluster competition – and a mere three games out of the West cellar. Until further notice, that’s all ye need to know.

Utah Jazz blogs: For some excellent coverage of the Utah Jazz, check out SLC Dunk and Salt City Hoops.

Where You Can Watch: 7:30pm start time on TWC Sportsnet. You can also listen on ESPN Radio 710AM.

Emile Avanessian

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67 responses to Preview and Chat: The Utah Jazz

  1. Good preview. On related note of appropriate tone, I was at a game a couple of weeks ago, and I told my buddy that I wish they would bail on the dramatic projections on the drop cloth and pounding music. The way things are going, it would be better if Lawrence Tanter said, “Tonight’s starters are Clark, World Peace, Howard, Nash, and Bryant. The game will begin momentarily.’

  2. Kobe Alert: KB moved into 25th alone for all time games and is now within 4 games of Shaq. He became the 14th player to log 44 thousand minutes. He needs 13 more FT’s to catch Oscar for 3rd all time. He needs 7 more defensive rebounds to catch Alonzo Mourning for 69th. He needs 8 dimes to pull even with A Iverson for 38th. Wilt is just 707 points away. Much was written today about Kobe’s salary. Throughout his career, KB has earned $307,587,211 (including 2012-2013). This is second all time to Kevin Garnett (Shaq is third). He will not catch Garnett in 2014 either, so this is another reason to sign him to an extension.

  3. When a grown man challenges you, you can either:
    1. Fight back and show you don’t back down in any challenge,
    2. Or you can just take the heat and be quiet like a little pu$$y.

    Dwight Howard chose to be a pu$$y in that team meeting. I was surprised he was more beta (Pau-like) than alpha (Kobe,Jordan,Shaq like).

    A true alpha male would in fact, fight back at Kobe just like Shaq used to do. D12 is more of a puppy that just wants to be a babied and cuddled.

  4. It kills me to see sacre’s best years wasted this way…

    At staples. Losing + rain + Jazz = no ones here. Will be very quiet. I may take the opportunity to coach from my less than courtside seats …

  5. Lakers get a win. Lakers get a win. Lakers get a win. Lakers get a win. Say it enough and the universe must agree.

    Still cheering for Duke of Earl. And, hope Pau continues to play strong coming in off the bench and in the 4th quarter with Howard.

  6. Watch with low expectations and you won’t be dissappointed. Lets enjoy kobe bryant before he retires as he only has 1 and a half seasons to go.

  7. Artest 3 beats the clock and stats the scoring.

  8. @Lil pau – hope you´ll be able to leave Staples smiling tonight!
    of course that´d mean you´d then have to attend every game after ;)

  9. Watching this replay if a game from a prior year. Boy that were good.

  10. Take it back. Good crowd. DH everywhere.

  11. Looks like MDA has tweaked the offense. Using Nash of the ball and Kobe playing the ball handler role.

  12. Why do the Lakers have the worst reserve PGs in the league?

  13. Lil Pau and Koo: Umm, can we focus on the game, guys?

  14. Worthless loser is back using others posts. What a punk.

  15. Apparently the moderation of posts is not in effect tonight.

    Dwight is rapidly venturing into Kwame Brown territory for centers with bad hands. If Howard had Kobe’s work ethic and MWP’s hands he’d be the greatest center of all time.

  16. VI hacker is back again. Going to another night of that loser,

  17. Lakers at least are putting up a united front. Duhon and Jamison will definitely put a halt to that. Please play Morris more than Duhon at least Morris has an upside. Coach plays Clark too long he loses his effectiveness the longer he’s on the floor because he gets tired.

  18. Why not try a lineup with

    Nash
    Meeks
    Kobe
    Clark
    Howard

    Spacing for howard

  19. Duhon, and Meeks, Jamison are just not NBA players. This is 100% the FO. Lakers lose 10 points every time they take the court. As Dallas keeps picking up new guys.

  20. Kobe’s going out of his way to encourage and high five D12. That is a sign of a good leader.

  21. Good defensive effort. At last!

  22. I hope that being 8 games below .500 has finally awoken a sleeping elephant -

  23. Lakers have given up the most points on average in the second quarter at 26.7, did a much better job tonight only giving up 18 to take a 10 point lead at the half.

  24. Kobe just taking care of his advantage. Burks and Foye dont stand a chance against him. Another thing is, Pau going to the post always. Put him in the post MDA.

  25. Lil Pau that Sacre comment was funny!!!

  26. Solid 1st half defense (particularly MWP). Kobe doing an excellent job of mixing up his attack between Facilitator and Scorer. Catching a break with Mo Williams out of their lineup, so we need to take advantage of it.

  27. I love that ‘my’ bathtub comment gets through with no problem, but when the real me tries to post about the lakers defense against the pick and roll, I get moderated every time!

  28. Lil Pau you’re on a roll!! LOL

  29. This team just does not like prosperity. They forget what works for them. When they get a lead they start turning the ball over, slacking off on defense, and jacking up shots.

    Come on Lakers!

  30. Why does Metta shoot so much & so bad?

  31. Team is looking like they actually care tonight. I love the way Nash has gotten aggressive with his own shot.

  32. Nice to see the Lakers winning a game for the change. By the way, is there anyone in Lakerland who is calling for D’Antoni to be fired?
    http://wp.me/1gCK6

  33. Nash just can’t figure out he can’t no longer dribble into people. slow down Steve you 39 not 19.

  34. When Nash is tired he turns the ball over and is reluctant to shoot as he knows the shot will be short. He also knows that he has to try to play as long as possible in this game because Duhon is his backup.

    What has Kobe not done this season to try to make the Lakers relevant?

  35. One coach makes adjustments at half. The other strokes his mustach.

  36. Some 101Basketball D’Antoni didn t attend.If your PF (Gasol) is suffering because is difficult for him to defend a smaller guy make him post that guy every time on the other end of the court to compensate it.

  37. Good point CHearn. Never thought of that.

  38. One of the best games of the year for Kobe. Probably second to the more recent clippers game and couldn’t of come at a better time.

  39. Man, if only the other Lakers had an effort like Kobe in this game.

  40. Pau has been black swan this past few games.

  41. Love it Gasol, drive for the layup.

  42. Pau looks focused! And, a little bit angry, too. I like this Pau!

    Duhon makes me so nervous. I don’t think I’ll make it to the 7-8 minute mark for Kobe and Steve to get back.

    Earl Clark is learning how to play defense against the 2-3 position.

    MWP is playing big tonight, good defense and offense.

  43. Get this garbage bench out. Duhon, Meeks=zero.

  44. Metta is Ron Artest tonight.

    Welcome back Ron!

  45. Seriously, why is Devin Ebanks on the roster if he can’t get in any game? You play Dwight, Pau AND Clark at the same time rather than giving Devin some burn at the SF? D’Antoni sucks.

  46. Love what I am seeing tonight! These guys are cheering for each other, and playing like a real team.

  47. Nash and KObe have already had some good chemistry. Now this game there have been at least 5 high low between Dwight and Pau. D’Antoni is changing his offense some to accomodate the roster.

  48. R.I.P SevenSeconds or less.

    Hello 17 seconds or less. It’s about damn time the system has been tweaked.

  49. Omg Kobe! That was pure vintage Kobe Bean Bryant!

  50. Kobe footwork for the layup and follows it up with the steal and slam dunk.

  51. Sweet Kobe. Sweet footwork. Young ballers take heed.

  52. Pre-season is over. 1st game of the year!

    Oh wait we already did that.

    Never mind.

  53. this one´s in the fridge, get the bench in there

  54. Pau has given a good performance and only played 25min.Whhy MD don t allow him to play the last 5min.Completely out of line IMO

  55. It’s so frustrating when this team gives you a glimpse of how well they can play together knowing how little of it we’ve seen all season. Solid game tonight. They actually looked like they were having fun out there. Great scoring balance.

    But we’ve seen this before. One good game followed by multiple games of crap. We need to do this consistently, not just once in a blue moon. Problem is, OKC is coming to town on Sunday. Let’s see how we respond…

  56. Funny, KenO.

    Who set the Lakers alarms this morning? Whomever it was needs to do it every game.

    Maybe the Chicago team meeting worked. It sure looks like it.

    The Lakers are much better when the Duke of Earl is relegated to a role player rather than a star.

    Devin Ebanks is D’Antoni’s new: Jordan Hill, and Nate Robinson. Man he holds a grudge, whatever it is.

  57. They can beat OKC. After a Saturday night out for OKC. Up to you all California girls to help!

  58. Great effort tonight play the same way the rest of the way and we will make the playoffs!!! Let’s go LAKERS

  59. What a game for the Lakers… led wire to wire, everyone contributing on both ends of the floor… 5 guys with 14 points or more, dominated the boards, shot the 3-ball well… but game ball has to go to Kobe Bean. He orchestrated the offense beautifully! That’s what the Jazz get for letting him operate in the post without double teaming!

  60. so it looks like Lil pau is gonna have to attend every game now!
    what a line for Mamba tonight!

  61. He will not catch Garnett in 2014 either, so this is another reason to sign him to an extension.

    Nicely done.

  62. Best stretch of basketball this year for Pau. Thanks to D’Antoni making him the 6th man. It’s worked and Lakers are better for it. He’s making an effort to put players in position to be successful as well. He deserves credit. Every game it’s an opportunity for KObe to play how he played tonight. It won’t always show up in the assists column but the energy was consistent throughout because everyone was involved. Good Win.

  63. I guess the season actually started tonight.

  64. All–

    A rare missed game tonight–The bride and I share a birthday weekend again this year, so we were out on the town in the Great Plains and–in media darkeness for the game. Not surprised by the win, but surprised by the margin and the distribution of scoring. What is the scoop on the game tonight? The box score suggests that the game was played at a playoff-game pace instead of MDA’s usual push-the-ball gameplan–is that what the eye-test showed too? How did it shake out?

  65. mindcrime,

    I know family is important, but how could you miss the season opener?

  66. RR

    I know–it’s only the third or fourth one, right?

    Actually, the bride is at least as big a Lakers fan as I am–but we live in South Dakota now-so when we are out and about–there’s no League Pass, and it’s Timberwolves country–so it’s touch and go on seeing the game if it isn’t a national telecast.