Lakers 111, Jazz 103: Game 2 Running Diary

60355182Lakers – Jazz Gameday Page
The Lakers looked to follow up their 104-99 victory over Utah in Game 1 of the Western Conference semi’s on Tuesday evening 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

Video Preview: Game 2
Assistant coach Frank Hamblen joined us on LakersTV to preview Game 2 of L.A.’s Second Round series against Utah, focusing on ever-important pick-and-roll defense, what Kobe Bryant did to go 12-of-19 Game 1, Derek Fisher’s improved shooting, containing Deron Williams and more. CLICK HERE to watch.

60355796First Quarter
8:03 Much of the conversation out of Jazz camp since L.A.’s Game 1 victory was about how head coach Jerry Sloan wanted his team to be more aggressive early in the game, and we certainly saw that in the opening minutes as Utah scrambled around on defense and nailed three triples to take an 11-4 lead. Two of the three-pointers came from Deron Williams, the second of which was created by L.A.’s second turnover.

5:13 Utah’s fast start seemed to wake the Lakers up a bit, and a 9-2 Purple and Gold spurt ensued as Bynum dunked twice, Artest hit 1-of-2 free throws and threw one down himself, and Gasol laid in. Defensively, Bynum grabbed four of his six total rebounds and Artest picked the pocket of D-Will. Solid start for Bynum (the subject of many pregame stories due to his injured right knee), who went for four points and six boards.

0:08.5 Artest capped a solid individual offensive quarter with a late offensive rebound that he turned into two points with his patented one-hand shot, the other used to hold off his man. That gave him 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting, and the Lakers a 27-23 lead. We also learned that Artest’s favorite musical artist is Mobb Deep (also from NYC), which would have angered 2pac back in the day.

Second Quarter
9:30 A defensive adjustment made by Utah from Game 1 was to send early double teams, particularly at Kobe, and No. 24 made them pay by simply dishing off for six assists in his first 13 minutes on the floor. No.’s 4 and 5 came as Bryant first found Shannon Brown, then Lamar Odom cutting to the hoop for layups, and Odom’s deuce made it 36-27 L.A.

5:57 The Lakers continued to score very easily on Utah, even while coming a bit slow on defensive rotations, to build a 45-34 lead thanks to consecutive transition buckets from Bryant. Meanwhile, Bynum was controlling the glass, grabbing his 10th window clean to already amass a double-double (11 points). He was to rebounding what Walter White is to chemistry in “Breaking Bad.”

0:50.0 To stay on that point, Bynum would add two more boards to reach 12 in the half, while Gasol would join Bynum (11) and Artest (12) in double figures with 13 points and six boards of his own. Together, Bynum, Gasol and Odom totaled 31 points, 26 rebounds, four assists and three blocks.

60355732Third Quarter
8:20 L.A. was as poor on D as they were good on O to start the third, trading buckets with Utah as the deficit remained 12 after the first few minutes. Utah did cut it down to single digits when Williams finally got into double figures by hitting two foul shots (just 2-of-7 from the field).

4:03 Four straight Kobe points pushed L.A.’s lead up to 15, the team still above 50 percent from the field, Utah still below 40 percent. Three-point shooting was helping Jerry Sloan’s squad stay somewhere within shouting distance, as the Jazz had managed to can 7-of-16 from distance (43.8 percent).

0:11.2 Two pretty plays were produced by Bryant in the final minutes, first a left-handed swat of Wesley Matthews’ jump shot and ensuing dish to a streaking Brown for a lofted one-handed hammer dunk. Then came the same up-and-under-with-a-pivot move that Kobe executed during his 61-point performance at Madison Square Garden last season, but from the baseline this time, to give the Lakers a 10-point lead into the fourth. In Game 1, L.A. led by eight after the third before the bench let down, of which Phil Jackson surely reminded the team.

Fourth Quarter
11:25 Fitting that Odom, most critical of the second unit’s let down on Sunday, managed the first points of the fourth after drawing a foul on Millsap. L.A.’s D, however, then allowed a Kyle Korver jumper and Millsap layup in transition at the other end.

8:31 Six straight Jazz points in a minute’s time saw Phil Jackson tell Bryant to head back to the scorer’s table … but a Farmar 3-pointer and Bynum left-handed hook pushed the lead back to 96-85 before Kobe and Gasol returned to try and shut the door.

5:32 Utah would, however, go on another mini-run to cut L.A.’s lead to four before Gasol’s turnaround put the margin at 98-92. The Spaniard was scoring quite easily inside, making 7-of-9 shots (just like Bynum) and 8-of-10 free throws for his 22 points. Meanwhile, Odom was 4-of-4, for a ridiculous combined 18-of-22 (82 percent).

0:44.9 Though Utah would cut the lead to four, L.A. ultimately ran away in the end, exerting full control over a game that the Jazz never led. The Lakers completely dominated the paint, with Bynum, Gasol and Odom combining for a ridiculous 50 points, 45 rebounds and 9 blocks, the last swat coming from the Spaniard in the final minute. In fact, the Lakers blocked six shots in the fourth quarter alone while Bryant reached 30 points at the other end (nine in the final period) in a 111-103 final.

The Lakers, with the win, take a 2-0 lead into three off days prior to Saturday evening’s Game 3. Stay tuned for more on