Video Preview: Game 4 in Utah

As NBA coaches will tell you, the close-out game in a playoff series is always the toughest contest to claim.

With the Lakers up 3-0 heading into Monday evening’s Game 4 in Salt Lake City, Lakers assistant coach Frank Hamblen fell in line with that sentiment, and went on to explain why.

Among Hamblen’s notes:

- The Lakers will look to better control tempo in Game 4, acknowledging that the Jazz were able to dictate things in Game 3 (thus the 111-110 final score).
- Hamblen is looking for better transition defense from L.A., since the Jazz won the fast break points battle 10-3 in Game 4.
- Rim protection is also a premium for Hamblen, since the Lakers blocked only five shots in Game 3 after sending back 13 Jazz shots in Game 2. With fewer blocks came more Jazz lay ups.
- Utah quite effectively shut down the lane, conceding three-point looks instead of allowing easy catches or movement from L.A.’s big men. While the Lakers are happy to launch wide-open looks, Hamblen said they’ll focus on ball movement around the perimeter to open things up inside.
- Jazz sub Kyle Korver was NBA JAM “en fuego” in Game 3, nailing his first eight shots and 9-of-10 overall, including 5-of-5 from three-point range for 23 bench points. He’ll certainly draw additional attention from the Lakers in Game 4.

For more on the matchup, make sure to follow along on Twitter (@LakersReporter), where we’ll weigh in starting with Phil Jackson’s pregame session an hour and a half before tip.