From Silver Screen And Roll: As playoff games go, they don’t come more simplistic than that. No, the Lakers didn’t blast the Utah Jazz as was seen in the night’s other contest, but in defeating the Jazz 111-103, the Lakers never lost control of the contest. The Jazz made the same push that saw them take a 4 point lead in Game 1, but the closest they ever got was to reduce the deficit to 6 points. Down the stretch, the Lakers played with such relaxation that they might as well have been taking a lovely stroll. This one was never in doubt.
From BasketBlog: The Lakers are long. That could win “Obvious Statement of the Playoffs” honors, sure … especially if you ask the Utah Jazz. In L.A.’s 111-103 Game 2 victory over the Jazz in Tuesday afternoon’s Western Conference Semi’s, Laker bigs Andrew Bynum, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom totaled 50 points on 18-of-24 shooting (75 percent), 44 rebounds and nine blocks. When the final buzzer sounded, all three had double-doubles while playing over the top of Utah, led by Gasol’s 22 points and 15 rebounds, Bynum’s 17 and 14 and Odom’s 11 and 15.
From TalkHoops: It’s the same old song. The Lakers had a commanding lead, the Jazz came storming back, the Lakers close out the game playing the way they should have been playing the entire game. If you’re the Utah Jazz, how do you go about stopping this Lakers team in Game 3? You come out to an early seven point lead. You’re getting the Lakers to take outside shots, and miss the easy ones they get inside. You’re getting them to turn the ball over and Kobe Bryant is passing the ball instead of taking advantage of his skill sets. In the first quarter, Bryant and Gasol combine for only eight points on four for seven shooting with four turnovers and a technical foul (on Bryant after one of his turnovers). Yet, you go into the second quarter down by four. Why? Because the Lakers fourth scoring option (of the starters) scores 10 points in the opening period. Where do you go from there if you’re the Jazz?
From Land O’ Lakers: Never let it be said Phil Jackson plays favorites to the bitter end. Sure, he’s known for sticking by certain players, and in the eyes of some fans, such loyalty is capable of blinding him. For example, Luke Walton’s reputation among the Laker Nation and even some media members is that of Phil’s pet. The label may be a little strong, but there’s no questioning PJ’s fondness for Luke and the way he plays. He’s even jokingly referred to the small forward as his “son.” But there are sometimes lines to be drawn, even regarding fictitious blood ties. Thus, when the second quarter began, Walton was glued to the pine, despite this being the time he typically first checks into the game.
From The No Look Pass: Well, for the first two games, the Lakers have pretty much owned the series against the Jazz. It’s quite evident what the Jazz lack against the Lakers: size. The guys that do have size (Kyrylo Fesenko and Kosta Koufos) are inexperienced… and the Laker bigs would just overmatch them. Carlos Boozer doesn’t get as many good looks going against Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum. The Jazz do have a Deron Williams that can run around the Lakers but he didn’t exactly have a great Game 2.
From Pro Basketball Talk: The Utah Jazz have the best point guard in basketball. They’ve surrounded him with good outside shooting and talented forwards. They have one of the best coaches in the league and run the flex with precision. They’re a tough, physical team who don’t back down from any challenge.
From Purple and Blues: Is it me, or was Game 2 very similar to Game 1? The Utah Jazz did just enough to remain in the game throughout, and they had a chance in the 4th quarter with a little run. Ultimately, though, they did not have enough left in the tank, and they could not complete the comeback. It just seemed like every time that they could have really broken through, they came up short with an empty possession or a turnover.
From the Los Angeles Times: Since it was Lamar Odom who said the Lakers’ bench was ranked 28th in the NBA, it was only fitting that the media searched for the stats to see if he was right. Odom was close. The Lakers’ bench finished the regular season ranked 27th, scoring 26.2 points per game as a unit. “Yeah, that’s disappointing to hear,” Odom said.
From the Los Angeles Times: Any way to change this to a best-of-five series? The Lakers continued to get the best of the Utah Jazz, turning a Western Conference rivalry into a playground version of sixth-graders against fourth-graders, the latest after-school scuffle transitioning into a 111-103 victory Tuesday at Staples Center. It wasn’t easy — nothing seems to be for the Lakers in these playoffs — but they took a 2-0 lead over the Jazz in the conference semifinals.
From the OC Register: After every game, Kobe Bryant makes it look like he’s burrowing his feet in soft, relaxing sand during a day at the beach. After the Lakers’ game in Toronto this season, Andrew Bynum tried it. Bryant is used to soaking his feet in postgame buckets of ice water to minimize inflammation from all the pounding. He’ll often chat comfortably with reporters while his feet are submerged in icy water. Yet when Bynum tried to do that in Toronto in late January, he became a cartoon.
From the OC Register: The Lakers failed to do a lot of what they planned to do Tuesday night. They still breezed to victory for a 2-0 lead in this series against the Utah Jazz. The Lakers did get major production out of Kobe Bryant in the post and the usual strong efforts from Pau Gasol and the team defense. That was enough to go with dominant rebounding from Gasol (15 rebounds), Andrew Bynum (playoff career-high of 14) and Lamar Odom (15) — to win rather easily, 111-103, for their 16th consecutive victory at Staples Center over the Jazz.
From ESPN Los Angeles: There’s always a fine line you walk when you’re playing your little brother in a pickup basketball game. You don’t necessarily want to destroy him so badly he refuses to play with you again (shagging your own rebounds is never fun) but you also don’t want him to have any bragging rights by beating you. So you play with him a little. Let him jump out to an early lead. Maybe let him take a lead late or get within striking distance. Eventually, however, you finally put him away and pretend like it was a hard-fought game and he’d have a chance next time, even though you knew he never stood a chance.
From ESPN Los Angeles: Phil Jackson says he hopes to return as the Los Angeles Lakers coach next season and can’t envision coaching anywhere else next year. Maybe. Probably. Like 90 percent. “I’d say it’s 90 percent that if I’m coaching it’ll be here,” Jackson cautiously mused before the Lakers game against the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night.
From Yahoo! Sports: Kobe Bryant has listened the past few weeks as his critics have said he’s on the downward slide, that he’s too old, that he’s physically worn down. And after totaling 30 points, eight assists, five rebounds and three blocks during a 111-103 victory over the Utah Jazz to give the Lakers a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference semifinals, Bryant barked back to his skeptics.“Stupid. They’re stupid,” Bryant said. “It’s an injury. They don’t know me very well. They think I’m done. I just hear it. I just hear it. I find it amusing. It’s entertaining.”
From the Daily Dime: Andrew Bynum is entitled to a matchup like this, in which he looks like Godzilla tromping through the undersized Utah Jazz, gets a career-high 14 rebounds and plays an important role in a Lakers playoff victory. It seems as if ever since that rookie-year dunk on Shaquille O’Neal it’s been nothing but injuries, a disparaging video starring Kobe Bryant, injuries, embarrassing Internet pictures taken in clubs and injuries and, uh, injuries.