Lakers 104, Jazz 99: Game 1 Running Diary

60335166Lakers – Jazz Gameday Page
After defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder in six games, the Lakers moved into Round 2 to face the Utah Jazz in Game 1 at STAPLES Center. We were there to make sure you didn’t miss a thing:

Lakers: Sasha Vujacic (ankle)
Jazz: Andrei Kirilenko

Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Gasol and Bynum
Jazz: Deron Williams, Wesley Matthews, C.J. Miles, Carlos Boozer, Kyrylo Fesenko

Lakers – Jazz Series Preview
We took a comprehensive look at L.A.’s Second Round series, detailing player-by-player matchups and sitting down with assistant coach Frank Hamblen for further details. Check it all out by CLICKING HERE.

60335404First Quarter
11:40 The league’s best point guard, Deron Williams, came into the game listed as “questionable” with a bruised left elbow that he hurt late in Game 6 against Denver, and it didn’t look good for the Jazz when he went down writhing in pain after executing Kobe Bryant’s swing-through move on Derek Fisher on the first possession of the game. However, Williams managed to hit both free throws, then a three-pointer on Utah’s next possession.

And then the Lakers got hotter than Leo DeCaprio’s lady friend…

3:03 No, really. Really hot, as in making 14-of-16 shots to start the game. It was quickly apparent that the Utah defense didn’t offer anywhere near the resistance of Oklahoma City, because the Lakers barely missed, shooting 85.7 percent. Kobe exemplified the offensive dominance by making his fifth shot in as many attempts to open a 29-17 lead for the home team.

0:00 Utah managed six points in the final stretch while holding the Lakers to just a point, but the lead was still seven at 30-23 behind the impressive 15-for-19 shooting percentage from the Lakers. Bryant and Gasol combined for 18 of L.A.’s 30, thought five turnovers did keep Utah in the game.

Second Quarter
10:36 Luke Walton offered his team a key boost in the fourth quarter of the deciding Game 6 against OKC, and didn’t wait long to contribute in Game 1 against Utah, nailing a corner three and hitting 1-of-2 free throws to put L.A. up 34-25.

5:00 Scoring didn’t get any harder for the Lakers, who opened a 13-point lead, their biggest, when Fisher smartly drew a foul on Kyle Korver in transition and stuck both freebies. The team was still shooting 67 percent at that point.

0:09.2 With Bryant on the bench (three personal fouls), Gasol took the offensive reigns for L.A., twice executing give-and-go’s with Artest for Ron Ron layups, and then drawing a foul in the paint to hit two free throws. The Jazz did get a jumper from undrafted rookie starter Wesley Matthews to cut the lead to 53-45 at the break, but the Lakers firmly dominated the play. Gasol and Bryant had 12 points each for L.A., while Williams managed 17 points and four assists to keep Utah within shouting distance.

60335250Third Quarter
10:15 The easy buckets continued to come for the Lakers, who were getting the ball in the paint as easy as Roy Halladay strikes out National League hitters. Two Bynum dunks and an Artest layup quickly pushed the Purple and Gold lead to 12.

6:11 Utah finally found some life thanks to the 3-point line, getting back-to-back triples from Matthews and Miles to cut L.A.’s lead to just three at 63-60. The Lakers were continuing to produce good looks on offense, but had missed some gimme’s in the paint.

0:03.1 Shannon Brown missed 2-of-4 free throws in the final minute, but the Lakers still took an 8-point lead into the fourth quarter, matching Utah’s 28 points in a somewhat listless third period. Gasol upped his scoring to 20, and Bryant 18 to pace L.A., which seemed eager to get the game over with.

Fourth Quarter
7:32 Now that was a bad stretch. In the first three-plus minutes of the fourth, the Lakers missed all five of their shots and turned the ball over twice as Utah capitalized to cut the lead to just one at 82-81, sparked by six points from Millsap.

4:47 With Utah’s defensive pressure improving markedly, the Lakers continued to struggle to get good looks, a thought so antithetical to the first three quarters, but Odom’s put-back dunk off Bryant’s miss tied the game at 89. The Jazz, however, scored two straight buckets to open their largest lead at four. Kobe time?…

2:18 Yup. L.A. got the lead back on Kobe’s and-1 and a key defensive stop, though Artest’s missed three-pointer and Fisher’s charge in transition squandered chances to pad the lead a little bit. The Lakers, however, got another stop on the next Jazz possession when Odom blocked Boozer in the lane, and Bryant nailed an ensuing free-throw line jumper to put L.A. up three.

0:22.5 And there was Kobe, yet again, sealing the win for the Lakers with a slashing layup through traffic (and in the absence of a shot blocker for the Jazz) to get to 31 points and put the Lakers up 100-95. Williams then missed a pull-up 3-pointer early in the shot clock and Gasol swatted Matthews’ attempt at layup and hit two freebies at the other end to finally seal the deal.

The Lakers, after dominating the first three periods, endured Utah’s fourth quarter push before pulling out a 104-99 victory in Game 1. Stay tuned for plenty more in the postgame report.