Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images
This game began exactly as you’d imagine Phil drew it up. Kobe was an early facilitator, Pau and Odom had things going early and Ron Artest was [some what] involved with the offense. They were playing great team defense, and getting easy buckets on the offensive end. At the end of the first quarter, the Lakers were up 33-17 and had an offensive efficiency rating of over 157, which is ridiculous. However, it seems as if the Jazz had the Lakers right where they wanted them.
November 6th – Utah trails the Los Angeles Clippers by 18 only to come back with a 109-107 victory in overtime.
November 9th – The Miami take a 22-point lead over the Utah Jazz only to lose 116-114 in overtime.
November 10th – Just one night after completing a 22-point comeback, the Utah Jazz overcome an 18-point deficit against the Orlando Magic to win 104-94.
November 12th – (From the Associated Press): “Paul Millsap hit a corner jumper with 1:20 to play and the Jazz came back from a double-digit, second-half deficit for the fourth consecutive game to beat the Atlanta Hawks 90-86 on Friday night.”
November 13th – The Utah Jazz trailed by 16 at halftime only to have Deron Williams knock down a floater with 0.8 seconds left on the clock to give them a 96-95 win over the Bobcats.
November 20th – The Utah Jazz trailed by as many as 11 and trailed for the majority of the game before a huge 4th quarter gave the Jazz a 103-94 victory over the Portland Trailblazers.
Notice a trend? There were six separate occasions this season where the Jazz were forced to come back from double-digit deficits to come back and win a game. Tonight was their seventh. There are no surprises on how they won the game. Some missed shots by the second unit started shifting the momentum, they ratcheted up their defense and Deron Williams was, well, Deron Williams.
The Utah point guard finished the night with 29 points on only 14 shot attempts, 12 assists and two steals. Williams was 3-6 from behind the arch, including an absolute dagger to re-tie the game after Kobe seemingly collected every ounce of momentum Utah owned with his three-point barrage. Williams stole a Kobe pass one possession later, got the ball out to Raja Bell for his 12th assist and the Lakers never led again. Looking at the box score, however, you notice that Williams finished the game with a +/- of only 3, telling us that there is more to this story than just his brilliance.
The other part of this story is something that we’re not used to this season — the Lakers bench being outplayed. Last season, the Lakers’ starters came off of the floor expecting a portion, if not all of their lead to be gone by the time they saw the floor again. This season, Shannon Brown, Matt Barnes and Steve Blake have not only sustained leads, but even extended a lot of them with their shooting. Tonight, that was not the case as the Jazz cut into the Lakers lead with the reserves on the floor, and rode that momentum until the final buzzer sounded. The Brown-Barnes-Blake trio finished the night just 5-21 and a lowly(er) 1 for 7 from behind the arch. The Lakers are leading the league in three-point percentage, but tonight, they shot poorly and suffered the consequence. When the three point shots started turning into defensive rebounds, things only got harder for Odom and Gasol in the middle, and the Lakers offensive efficiency nose dove off of the Rocky Mountains.
This isn’t the worst loss that we’ve seen from this team, and there really isn’t anything to be worried about. This loss is can be chalked up to a bad shooting night from the bench and one of the league’s premier point guards doing what premier point guards do. Kobe, Lamar and Pau all had good games, although Lamar and Pau didn’t do the greatest job on the glass in the second half, the Lakers just couldn’t knock down the shots that they’ve been hitting all season. To sum up the night, commenter Matt R. wrote:
Steve Blake 0-7 (-9)?Derek Fisher 1-7?Shannon Brown 2-8 (-6)
Matt Barnes shot well but was -10 for the game.
Our starters were OK. A collective +3, but our bench was a collective -33.
That’s why the bench is the bench. The bench wins the game for us in LA and hangs a massive albatross on us on the road.
These games are going to happen. The bench can’t be perfect all the time or they’d be starters making $30M a year. To be honest, without the free throw advantage (31 attempts for us vs. 17 for them) we could have lost by a much larger margin.
I’ll take a close loss on the road to a team that frankly is hard to beat in their own house in the regular season. I’d prefer the win, but let’s chalk it up to some bad shooting and bench jitters and move on.
The Lakers are now 13-3 without their starting center and will have the Pacers at home on Sunday night.
Schedule looks great through the 26th (clash with spurs) with a tough visit to Chicago but other than that a great chance to rattle off a long string of wins.
Yeah, a good string of wins will help me recover from this loss. I mean, when I see Kobe (the black mamba) in killer mode, and taking over a game like he did tonight, I just expect a W out of it, it usually happens, right?
“Never regret something that once made you smile.” – Amber Deckers
Derrick Caracter 7.5min/gm has 1 more offensive rebound this year than Lebron James 37.8min/gm.
The chosen one huh?
Phil should give Kobe 38-39 minutes at leat on the road.
CHRIS CATES says
Check out my song “Kobe Time” @ http://365songsfor2010.wordpress.com/2010/06/18/june-18th-kobe-time/
If Phil badly wanted to win this game he would have definitely played Kobe for more than 34 min. Nothing much to read from this game apart from the fact that the bench needs to step up in away games.
chris h says
I am surprised there wasn’t any mention of the shot clock fiasco at the end of the game. Granted it happened on both sides of the court, and I’m sure it wasn’t intentional, but the stoppage of play when Derek had the ball on a fast break, well, that was a game changer, I think we were down by 3 at that point.
you know, if I was Utah, I would be proud of the come from behind victory, but I also wouldn’t take away from this game that the Jazz are laker Killers, we couldn’t (for Chick) throw a pea in the ocean last night, and we still were very much within striking distance in crunch time. I too was just amazed at Kobe’s hot streak in the end, I thought to myself, “damn if we win this game, that Kobe guy is worth every dollar Dr Buss is paying him”.
I also don’t read this very much, but LO is playing amazing ball, and I think we owe much of this season’s fast start to his performances, the guy has just been all over it, rebounding, 3 pointers, leading breaks, the LO signature move of taking it to the hoop(anyone notice he’s not getting the charging calls that used to haunt him?) we owe a lot of our W’s this year to LO.
and lastly, wasn’t that 1st quarter a thing of beauty?
Hillary Ocholla says
I also noticed on Sportscenter they didn’t mention anything about the shot clock, they just ran the chopped up highlights. The shot clock did take the momentum out of the play for sure.
Even though the Lakers lost, I think that was a great regular season game.
Completely agree about the shot clock problem. That was the sequence where Deron hit the tying 3 if I remember properly. The clock was still at 13 even though it had been reset to 13 after AK’s miss. Utah inbounded, ran a play and ball went out of bounds again. There should have been less than 5 on the clock. Instead clock never moved, Deron got the ball up top, they had time for him to calmly set up against Fish and hit the 3.
I think that greatly affected the tenor of the game. Does Utah rush that last sequence a bit more and Deron doesn’t have time to hit the tying 3? Who knows?
I’m not laying the loss on that sequence, but it was ridiculous how everyone including the coaches on both benches kept missing the clock not moving from that point forward.
chris h says
I agree the seq with the Jazz shot clock not moving was bizzare, but I did see PJ have some words with the official after that, and he didn’t seem happy.
but more troubling to me was the seq where we got a rebound off a Jazz miss, Derek had the ball and we were down by 3 (I think) but had some momentum, and they stopped the play due to the clock not moving. Fish was obviously upset, slammed the ball down, because it was looking like the Lakers were getting set up to run the O, and regain the lead, (or tie) and with Kobe being in Mamba mode, it felt to me like this was a critical possession. Having to stop the play, and take it out of bounds, well, PJ did comment about that later, called it a game changer.
Craig W. says
In the midst of trying to come to grips with our loss, and make ourselves feel better about our team…here is an interesting article: http://20secondtimeout.blogspot.com/
“Lukewarm Heat on Pace for 47 Wins” — Be sure to read the comments, as they are generally intelligent, like most of the comments on this site.
Reign on Parades says
Some Utah fans I know hate the Sloan philosophy of packing the paint and running out on shooters (often way too late)
Well last night it worked and Kobe missed a dozen easy turnarounds before exploding in the 4th quarter and none of our floor stretchers could hit anything from range.
What can you even say about that?
The Dude Abides says
Nothing much one can say about last night. We executed just fine, but nobody could make shots. Kobe missed four or five easy turnarounds inside seven feet, our wings missed every single wide-open three after the first quarter until Kobe got hot, Blake missed a couple layups, and we couldn’t control several key rebounds down the stretch.
The shot clock sequence was a joke. We had just gotten a stop and were down by only two with about 32 seconds left and were in transition, and the stupid shot clock didn’t reset. Official timeout called at 27.6 seconds. What they should have done is add a couple seconds to the game clock because it took them about two seconds to stop play after Fish first noticed the shot clock hadn’t reset. But whatever, it was just one of those games where there was a lid on our basket. With the way Blake, Fish, and Shannon were bricking, I was hoping that Phil would go with the big lineup down the stretch by putting Barnes or Kobe on D-Will, and have everyone else (RonRon, Pau, LO) pack the paint and switch on every screen. I wonder if our length would have been able to stop their penetration down the stretch, plus force D-Will to shoot over taller guys.
They got hot. We got cold.
That happens. It is often difficult to remember, but everyone in this league is a phenomenal player. A league made up of literally the best of the best, and paid to get even better.
So, of course the Lakers will lose from time to time.
Where you earn your accolades is in the Playoffs.
The only thing that really bothers me at the moment is the lack of rebounding. But, that should be fixed when Bynum returns. He doesn’t grab a ton of rebounds per se, but he does create rebound opportunities for his teammates by using that big body of his to properly block out.
Dave M says
#14 – well said, the worst teams in the league are capable of beating the best now and then and Utah’s far from being the worst. They earned their win. #11 – thanks for linking that blog – very intelligent analysis although personally, I take a narrower view – LeBron’s busy pimping his new logo to Matt Lauer while his superteam’s falling by the wayside. The emperor’s new clothes.
I wouldn’t call this alarming just yet, but against teams that are .500 and/or above, we are 2-3 (1-3 if you count only Western Conf. teams). Yes, all those losses have only been 6 points or less, but as we say a win is a win, it’s true for them as well. Not an area of concern yet, but at this rate, we wouldn’t want to be the 2009-2010 Cavaliers-version.
Good link, Craig. A lot of people in the blogosphere don’t like Friedman, especially after he got into a spat with Kelly Dwyer, but I generally find most of his work to be well written, well thought-out, and intriguing.
Mark, not an issue at all. If we were 1-4 and looked over matched perhaps but truth is all the games have come down to the last half a quarter or less. At that point the Lakers at best are only going to be something like 60/40 favorites.
Try flipping a coin a bunch of times and you’ll notice crazy long streaks. those loses mean nothing in terms of judging the team.
That Utah loss was huge because we’re losing pace with Miami. Oh wait, they just lost against Dallas.
How about LeBron bumping Spoelstra intentionally to show his displeasure after Dallas goes on a big run?
Doesn’t that just remind you of this familiar thing:
Some video of Bynum practicing. He looks pretty good and in solid shape. Also, Caracter looks quite small compared to Drew. It’s good to have another 7-footer coming in soon.
Deja Vu anyone?
I really think the Miami Heat has become Lakers circa 2003 or 2004 😉
CHRIS CATES says
I was inspired by this site to write a song about Pau Gasol.
You can hear it @ http://365songsfor2010.wordpress.com/2010/11/28/pau-gasol-song-november-27th/
Sorry this is off topic and Darius (or others) if you choose to delete this because it is too close to the trade speculation taboo – feel free.
First, can LeBron be traded (I am clueless on that point)? Next, am I the only person who thinks both Miami and LeBron would be better off if they were to pull off a trade to a borderline contender like Chicago or Dallas? MIami could pick up some key chips with a better fit. LeBron could have a fresh start on a team that wasn’t entirely gutted to get him. The team to take him would (obviously) have the star power of LeBron (at a discounted price), but also a chance to build a viable contender.
Anyway, it is just a thought I had this morning. Miami can and will improve. No doubt about it. But the redundancy of James and Wade is not going away. Both guys need the ball in their hands and I don’t see that changing. I don’t think you can maximize either guys’ talent playing them together.
23. Definitely Deja Vu. It’s as if what you’ve shown us was something so familiar that we feel as if we have read it two previous posts ago. :P. I’ve been known to do that in the past :/
Igor Avidon says
11. Nice article, but there is still a very high chance that the Miami Trio will turn it around and become as good as advertised. If/when that happens, all the critics will eat crow.. big time.
Only if one of the two (Wade or LeBron) seriously changes their basic game. Right now they don’t complement each other–they are both ball-dominating slashers with limited perimeter and post-up games (compare with: Kobe and Gasol–very complementary players with different skill sets).
Unless one of them really changes what they are doing (ie starts moving better without the ball etc) nothing is going to change.
If Lebron was willing to put in the work, he would be awesome posting up small forwards, which would open everything else up for his teammates. Not sure that he has that kind of dedication, though.
Agreed. He would be devastating to opponents’ defenses.
Agreed. I don’t think he has the dedication.
Darius Soriano says
Free agents that just signed with their current team aren’t eligible to be traded until December 15th.
As for trading any one of their big 3, I don’t see it nor do I agree it should happen at this point. This is a long term plan for the Heat. Right now they’re short players and everyone can see it. I preach this all the time here at this site in terms of the Lakers, but patience should be practiced by that team. They need more pieces in order to truly compete.
Another major key, though, as mentioned by exhelodrvr (#28) is whether or not either Wade and/or Lebron will continue to grow as players in order to create some diversification with their game(s). Currently, there is a lot of overlap in their skill sets and how they like to operate in the half court and that’s not doing the Heat any favors when running their offense. It also doesn’t help that they continue to run some of the most simplistic sets in the league, but that’s a topic for another day…