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Lakers reveal various trends in previous Game 3 losses to Utah

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The Lakers made it well aware they remember vividly what's happened the past two seasons when they visited Utah for Game 3 in the 2008 Western Conference semifinals and in the first round of the 2009 NBA playoffs. After the Lakers opened both series with a 2-0 lead, the Jazz responded in quick fashion at Energy Solutions Arena, including a Lakers 104-99 loss on May 9, 2008 and a 88-86 loss on April 23, 2009. In the end, the outcome didn't really matter. The Lakers won both series and I predicted the Lakers would win in five this season.

But the Lakers obviously don't want to assume that, and they remember very well how their Game 3 loss to Oklahoma City quickly led to another loss and tied the series up at 2-2. Surely, the Lakers prevailed with taking the next two games, but it didn't come without a fight. And as the Lakers prepare for Game 3 Saturday against the Jazz, they specifically recalled what led to their previous Game 3 losses to Utah.

After the video, I detail on the next thread what stood out in the Lakers' two Game 3 losses, a pattern the Lakers pledge won't happen again.

Improved play from Utah

Utah presented a much different effort in its 104-99 Game 3 victory in the 2008 Western Conference semifinals than it showcased in the first two games. Carlos Boozer had 27 points and 20 rebounds after a nearly invisible first two games. That effort included a time where he scored eight points in a span of two minutes and 43 seconds. It wasn't at all surprising, considering the rowdy crowd at Energy Solutions Arena stood on its feet the entire game, an instrument that partly led to a 37-4 regular-season home record. Of course, the Lakers had handed the Jazz one of those losses without the services of Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum.

The Jazz also featured better execution in their 88-86 Game 3 victory in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. Even without injured center Mehmet Okur (strained hamstring), the Jazz overcame the odds. Utah Coach Jerry Sloan made a change in the lineup, putting Andrei Kirilenko in place of Kyle Korver at small forward in hopes that it would provide a defensive spark.

The tactic worked as the Jazz held the Lakers to 36.8% shooting, which put Utah in a position to win the game in the final minutes. The Jazz took advantage of the opportunity with Deron Williams scoring on a 14-footer with 2.2 seconds left, preventing a 3-0 deficit.

Lakers' execution falters

The Lakers had gone undefeated in for nearly a month during the 2008 season, putting together a 10-game winning streak and six consecutive playoff victories. But that all came to a crashing end in their 104-99 Game 3 loss to Utah in the Western Conference semifinals.

It had all the characteristics of what the Lakers shouldn't do. They committed 18 turnovers and made five of 23 three-point shots (21.7%). Lakers forward Pau Gasol had what The Times' Mike Bresnahan said was "arguably his most ineffective game with the Lakers" because of a stat line that included 12 points, six rebounds, five turnovers and what Bresnahan described as "numerous appeals to referees in a distracted 40 minutes." And the team misplayed several sequences in the game's final moments.

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant slipped and lost the play with 2:53 remaining. Later on, Lakers forward Luke Walton committed a turnover after Gasol won a jump ball with 14 seconds left and the Lakers trailing, 103-99. And the game ended with Gasol passing the ball to nobody and drifting out of bounds.

The next year, the Lakers faltered again in the final minutes, and it went beyond allowing Williams to hit the game-winning shot. Bryant went only five of 24 from the field and missed a 28-foot three-pointer attempt as time expired. Lakers center Andrew Bynum collected more points (four) than fouls (five) in only seven minutes. And the Lakers trailed 26-17 in the first quarter after shooting only six of 25 (24%). Their poor marksmanship of 38% served as a stark contrast to the 57.8% mark they averaged in the series' first two games.

--Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter. E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Credit: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant tries to get off a shot past Utah guard Wesley Matthews, left, and forward C.J. Miles during the first half in Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals on Tuesday. Photo: Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times.

 
Comments () | Archives (211)

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DFish,

>>>What is all the worry and care about who wins and loses the other series. If
>>>the Lakers are really a Championship team...it doesn't matter who they play.
>>>Now as usual tell me why I'm completetely offbase.

Don't care. It doesn't matter. And you're not off base at all. Lakers will beat any of the three top Leastern teams, no problem.

The only favoritism on my part is that the Lakers and Celtics have a long-time rivalry, so I'd love to see the Lakers smack them down again in the finals. It's been a long time. The C's rarely make it to the finals, and the one time recently that they did, they caught the Lakers with their starting center out with an injury, so they snuck by with a 4-2 win.

Ain't worried about Cleveland. Ron-Ron will make Duke James cry. Lakers can handle Jamison, and he keeps Varejao off the floor. Cavs will make for a challenging opponent, but the champs will send them and their gigantic egos back down to earth.

Ain't worried about Orlando. Pau will once again OWN Dwight Howard, and Vinsanity will fold like origami, as he always does.

Ain't worried about Boston.

Jolly Rancher,

>>>Still watching SA and Suns. Is it me or does Alvin Gentry sound like Mr.
>>>Garrison? UmmKay. "Look, we're getting back into this...UmmKay?"

LOL.

Gentry should bust out Mr. Hand!

YOU DIE, REF! YOU DIE AND GO TO HELL!

>>>Do you still work LTLF or won lots of money in a Lotto?

Still work (and sadly, I'm at work right now, on a Saturday).

I just watch a lot of basketball - both NBA and international. I've seen most of the guys you mentioned play, and I think most of them would do okay in the NBA (and some like Kleiza have), but a lot of those guys don't really want to play in the NBA. If you could live in your home country near family and friends and make millions of dollars to play basketball, why do you need to go to the U.S.?

BLOG CRUE
What's the dealio with an old blog? Caught the 2nd half of a very exciting game. Kobe needs to block his man next time. Luck was on our side tonight. It was a great game.

Colorado loves our World Champion Lakers!

where is dfish now??

fisher's my boy

This blog is freaking hilarious. You can tell how scared everyone is of Lebron - he puts up a 35-8-7 by the 3rd quarter and blows out the Celtics, and all everyone here can do is call him names and claim the refs fixed it. There are a select few players that scare Laker fans so bad they would react like that.

Posted by: LA Guy | May 08, 2010 at 11:45 AM

Dude, do you really know bball? LBJ is a good player, but the refs ARE giving him a helping hand, it's so freakin clear...We're not scared of LBJ, we're scared of the refs and we have reasons for it. Lakers are better team than the Cavs, but the way it is right now, I doubt we'll have a fair ref...

We're the Lakers, we have 15 titles, not scare at all...
Cheers.

Is this thread the latest blog update.
I don't see any more threads, what's up?

Good win, whew!
Way to go Fish!

Gasoft 14 points, 17 reb, 3 ast, Ouchhhhhhhhhh dedicated payaso, trolls de mierda!

Where are you hiding Ouchhhhhhhhh miserable toad? Why do not spit your pestielentes comments on Pau Gasol now?

I fear that to an unfortunate Jazz without Mehmet Okur and Kirilenko with a recently restored, you just have two "fixed" (Kobe and Pau) and two "alternative" (Odom, Bynum, or failing that, Fisher and Artest). Against Boston or Cleveland or Orlando, I no longer see so clearly. Bynum What is worrying. What a lazy player! Or should we say lazy?

Escarpia, amigo, mirastes Los pintos que metio Kobe? Artest? Fisher? No nomas te quedes hablando de Gasol como si el gano el juego solo. Todos son parte de un EQUIPO y el EQUIPO gano el juego ayer. Mucho ojo en como le hablas a la gente en este Blog. El
unico pedaso de mierda que miro aqui es el que viene buscando peleas com Los originarios del blog. Si no puedes encontrar formas de dar tu caso en formas mas eloquentes, mejor ni hables, no queremos tener una discusion con mensos...

Translated:

Escarpia, buddy, did you see how many points Kobe threw down today? Artest? Fisher? Don't go talking about Gasol like he won the man. Everyone is part of the TEAM and they won as a TEAM yesterday. Be wary of the way you talk to others on this blog. The only piece of shoe (edited for reading purposes) I see here is the one that comes around here looking for a fight with one of the IG Bloggers. If you can find eloquent ways of getting your point across, it'd be better for you to not talk at all, we don't like dealing with dumba$$es....

 
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