MVP Night or not–once again, the Jazz had no answer for Kobe Bryant, who notched a game-high 34 points, eight rebounds and six assists in an all-around blitz of Utah’s backcourt. All this, with Andrei Kirilenko–widely considered one of the better defenders in the league–guarding him.
After a quiet opening series against the Jazz, Lamar Odom delivered in a big way in Game 2, scoring 19 points and more importantly, pulling down a team-leading 16 rebounds. Pau Gasol (20 points) also helped Lamar form a solid secondary tandem to Kobe.
L.A. shot a whopping 57% from the floor on 39-68 shooting, while holding the Jazz under 50% for the second game in a row at 45%. While Utah shot a respectable 7-18 from behind the three point arc, the Lakers were a much more efficient 7-11 from long range.
Similar to Game 1, free throws were also a huge factor in Game 2 as the Lakers an impressice 35-43 from the charity stripe, led 11-12 from Bryant. By comparison, the Jazz only shot 16 free throws, making 13.
Deron Williams ended up with 25 points by the final buzzer, but was kept at bay for the game by Derek Fisher. The Lakers point guard was also on his game offensively as well, scoring 22 points that ranked second behind Kobe on the team.
After losing the rebounding battle in Game 1 by a humbling 58-41 margin, the Lakers fought back in Game 2, still losing the overall tally, but only by four time this time at 41-37.
The Lakers continue to get contributions from their bench players with Sasha Vujacic leading the way for the second game in a row, this time scoring 12 points on 3-5 shooting from three point land.
The Lakers established tempo early, building a first quarter lead that lasted until the end of the game, as evidence by only four early lead changes the entire game.
What Went Wrong:
Although L.A. cut the rebounding margin to just four in Game 2, they were still manhandled on the offensive glass, only managing to grab four rebounds off of their own misses, compared to 16 for the Jazz.
Paul Milsap established his authority in the series in Game 2, scoring 17 points on 7-13 shooting and pulling down a team-high 10 rebounds.
Led by Mlsap and Korver, the Jazz’s bench outscored the Lakers’ bench by 10, 33-24, led by Milsap’s 17 and Kyle Korver’s 10.
Although the Jazz missed a lot more, they shot a incredibly 101 times from the field, compared to only 68 for L.A, meaning they had plenty of second chances, but were unable to take advantage of them.