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Dissecting the Lakers' scoreless drought and defensive performance in the final 2:31 of their 102-96 loss to the Utah Jazz


2:32 - 2:13, Utah ball: With Jazz guard Raja Bell directing the offense up top, forward Andrei Kirilienko flashed up toward the left block and received a pass. As Lakers forward Ron Artest heavily guarded Kirilienko, Bell curled around him as Lakers guard Kobe Bryant cut across the free-throw line and stayed on his assignment. Meanwhile, Utah guard Deron Williams penetrated the wing as Jazz forward Paul Millsap set a pin down screen on Lakers guard Derek Fisher. Fisher chased Williams through the pin down and Lakers forward Lamar Odom kept on Millsap, but Utah forward Al Jefferson set a downscreen on Fisher. Gasol stayed with Jefferson and Fisher curled around him, but he met another screen above the free-throw line from Kirilienko as Williams received a pass at the top of the key.

Artest picked up Williams, while Fisher switched on Kirilienko, who flashed to the weakside. With Artest guarding Williams one-on-one, Bryant covering the nearside and Odom staying on Millsap, Bell slipped along the baseline and cut to the nearside perimeter. Bryant immediately picked him up, but Williams drove through the lane. Odom picked him up in the paint, but Williams thread the needle to Millsap for the easy layup, cutting the Lakers' lead to 96-93.

2:05 - 1:47, Lakers ball.Odom directed the offense up top, as Bryant< set a screen on Kirilienko. Odom drove left, while Bryant rolled back toward the top of the key, but Kirilienko fought through Bryant's screen and picked Odom up on the nearside. Meanwhile, Bryant posted up on the left block, but Kirlienko knocked the ball out of bounds before Odom could pass the ball to Bryant. With 11 seconds remaining on the shot clock, Bryant inbounded the ball to Pau Gasol on the nearside and then cut to perimeter. Once Bryant received the dump pass, he met a double team, but received very little help from everyone else. Gaol stationed on the nearside, Odom, remained in the paint, Ron Artest stood on the far corner behind the three-point line and Derek Fisher stayed on the far end of the court.

Bryant dribbled out all the way to the timeline before firing an over-the-shoulder pass to Odom at the top of the key. He immediately passed the ball to Gasol, who fired a 21-foot jumper, but missed.

1:43 - 1:15, Utah ball:After Kirilienko grabbed the rebound off Gasol's miss, Williams directed the Jazz offense. He drove to his left past Fisher, but Gasol cut down to the farside to shut off his driving lane. Jefferson received a pass from Williams on the left block, as Lakers forward Ron Artest picked him up. Jefferson found left Kirilienko wide open on the nearside, but he airballed the uncontested three-pointer. The shot hit the net and replays showed the ball last touched Gasol's hands before going out of bounds as 13 seconds remained on the shot clock. Millsap threw in the inbounds pass on the far side along the baseline to Williams in the corner, but Fisher immediately picked him up. Jefferson received a pass from the left blocked and cut into the lane and received double coverage from Gasol and Odom, and his shot hit off the rim. Artest tried grabbing the rebound, but the ball went out of bounds off his hands.

The shot clock remained at 13 seconds, but they never reset the time. Nonetheless, Millsap inbounded the ball to Williams on the corner. Jefferson set a screen on Fisher as Williams curled to the top of the key, but Fisher stayed with him. Williams dribbled between his legs, and Fisher gave a slight handcheck as he stepped back to shut off his driving lane. But Williams pulled up for a three-pointer and the shot swished through the net, tying the game up at 96-96.


1:19 - 1:03, Lakers ball: On the other end, Bryant fed a pass to Gasol on the nearside perimeter. Bryant cut across Gasol and appeared his dump pass to Bryant was unexpected. The ball slipped off Bryant's injured right index finger and Williams picked up the loose ball. He immediately fed it to Bell, who converted on the fast-break finger roll as the Jazz took a 98-96 lead. The clock remained malfunctioned.

1:03 - :52With chants of "Beat L.A." reigning over EnergySolutions Arena, Gasol set a pick for Bryant on Bell, but Jefferson picked him at the top of the key. Bryant fired a pass to Artest, who remained open behind the three-point lane on the far corner, but Kirilienko immediately picked him up. Instead of feeding an entry pass to Odom, Artest cut across the lane, causing Millsap to pick him up. He set back for a jumper on the left block, but the ball fell short.

:48 - :14, Jazz ballKirilienko grabbed the rebound, but play immediately stopped because the shot clock didn't reset. Williams then directed the half-court offense, as Jefferson tried setting a screen on Fisher above the key. Gasol and Fisher picked Williams up just past the timeline as Jefferson cut inside, but Odom picked him up. Once Gasol took Millsap, Williams drove left, prompting Gasol to cut off his passing lane. But Millsap flashed on the wing and received a pass. Odom cut him off in the lane, forcing a bad angle on Millsap's layup. The shot hit off the backboard and Gasol grabbed the rebound. Fisher was about to run the offense, but time stopped again because the shot clock didn't reset, prompting him to bounce the ball in frustration.

It became the equivalent of Utah calling timeout to set up its defense. Artest inbounded the ball with 27.8 seconds left to Bryant near the timeline.

Gasol set a screen for Bryant on Bell on the far side, and Bryant drove left. Jefferson picked Bryant up, and he fired a pass to an open Artest on the nearside perimeter. His three-point shot rimmed out and Bell grabbed the rebound. Gasol committed the foul on Bell with 12 seconds remaining, forcing the Jazz to inbound the ball on the farside. Once Bell picked up the inbounds pass, Fisher foul him and he converted two free throws to extend the Jazz lead to 100-96.

:11.6 - :02, Lakers ballGasol drove in for an eight-foot jumper through traffic, but the shot went off the mark. Lakers forward Matt Barnes tried converting on the putback, but it didn't drop. Kirilienko grabbed the board, drew a foul Odom and sank two free throws for the 102-96 lead.

--Mark Medina

E-mail the Lakers blog at [email protected]

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant beats Jazz point guard Deron Williams for a layup in the first half Friday night. Credit: Steve C Wilson / Associated Press.

Photo: Lakers center Pau Gasol head-bumps guard Kobe Bryant, who drew a foul from the Jazz on a three-point shot in the fourth quarter Friday night. Credit: Steve C Wilson / Associated Press.

Comments () | Archives (21)

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What's the big deal? We lost. Okay. And it was close till we messed up in the end. I'll take a close battle loss than a blow-out loss any day. We coulda/shoulda won, people missed shots at the end (I'm talkin' to you Ron Ron! What happened to our presason Thriller? Meh... it happens). Our interior D has not been up to par for most of the season so far, but that will come. Two of the three B's couldn't hit (but Matty was his usual self in general). What's the big deal?

Me? I had a great Thanksgiving. My son & I are having a great time hangin'. The weather is clear and brisk. The Lakers'll play again and win. Life's pretty good. I'm still thankful. What's the big deal?

63 Footer -

I'm glad you had a great Thanksgiving and that you are getting to spend some quality time with your son.

Personally, I don't see a big deal at all. Some miscommunication, some missed shots, and we lost. We're not going to win them all, and it's tough to win in Utah. So...on to the next one then.

Good take 63 footer, most important everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. There is no war in Korea, shoppers are out on early bargain hunting for Christmas, 4 day vacation & peace in your neighborhood. That's a good life.

Do our avid fans expect Lakers win all the remaining games? Mercy and boring too! let's give a little respect to NBA teams and the business of basketball, a give and take world.

63 Footer

I'm glad it was an entertaining game. This is the fourth consecutive season we went up there for the first time in the practice season and lost. I'm glad history is repeating itself once again. Forget about the defense. Like Kobe said, we missed shots all night. It's as simple as that. But as always after a meaningless practice season loss, the sky is falling! Here's how everyone feels in Lakerland after one of these losses. (5 second clip)

Let's face it, we're spoiled rotten.

63 Footer - great post...nothing left to say...

Game could have gone either way. I don't like the part of being up by 19ish and letting the game go. I've learned to chill out after a loss. We should be back on track. The Spurs lost too so that's good.

Colorado loves our World Champion Lakers!

I read everyday persons criticizing Bynum. Listen to me people if we did not have Bynum even though he was hobbled the Celtics would have had title number 18 at this point. Gasol as talented as he is mostly ineffective against Perkins a physical and bruising center. Bynum is a keeper and Mitch is no fool. Bynum is big and very physical and very talented. We should be thanking the Almighty that Bynum is a part of our team. He has a bit of a deer in the headlights look but that is a facade. Bynum the Bruiser lays the wood with vengeance on offense and defense. Ask yourself a question Laker fans how many teams can boast of a 7' 1" 285 lbs man who has good hands, post moves and can hit 70% + of his free throws? And yall want Mitch to trade this man? If Mitch is stupid enough to do that I'm sure Doc and Danny Ainge will send Mitch a cake and a platinum Rolex watch as thank you gifts. Pat Riley will give Mitch the key to Miami City. If all the Lakers are left with is a soft shaggy hair but talented European player Phil might as well ride off into the sunset right now and kiss his fourth 3 peat goodbye.

Posted by: island priest | November 27, 2010 at 05:42 AM

Island Priest,

Your comments about other people's comments about Bynum is factually/
logically wrong. Your comment indicates that people said "the Lakers don't
need Bynum or a substitute for what he brings."

That was *never* the case. Statistically, any 7'0 250 lb man who could
average 12 pts & 10 rebounds could have replaced Bynum and the outcome
of the finals would have been the same. FYI, last season Bynum averaged
14 & 9.

Posted by: hobbitmage | November 27, 2010 at 08:28 AM


Has anyone noticed how hobbitmage repeatedly refers to his own illogical, shallow, long winded, biased, self-serving opinions (which also happen to be the minority view among GMs, coaches, players and smart Lakers and NBA fans) as "facts"?

Oh, and Bynum averaged 15.0 and 8.3 last season, with a 36 mpg average of 17.8, 9.9 and 1.7 bpg. Gasol's 36 mpg average was 17.8, 11.0 and 1.7 bpg. Now THERE's a huge statistical difference!

But none of that matters. The content in Island Priest's factual post at 5:42 AM is all that matters.

1-2-3 RING! #17 coming up STRONG!!

This was a frustrating game to lose. Big first half lead. Late fourth quarter lead. Both got away. The bench struggled in the first half and starters not named Kobe failed to close it out. Kobe did his thing and they still lost.

As usual, Utah is a good team, well coached by Sloan, tough, never give up. But it is still a little frustrating that the Lakers are losing to the second-tier tough teams like Utah , Denver and Phoenix right now.

But it is time for me to man up. I've watched NBA basketball for decades now, and if you don't have a strong stomach the regular season will kill you. The bench faltered. Threes didn't drop. Artest and Gasol missed some good looks. It happens. Even a great team loses 15 or so games every year. Losses are good for a team too. Keeps them from getting complacent.

So on to the next one. But this one was irritating.

lets not kid ourselves.. we arent winning 70 games and we might not win 65.. dont be suprised if we go 10-11 games and then lose one oddly.. it's just who we are.

Bynum will not be traded.. Lakers brought in Kareem Abdul Jabbar for Christ sakes just to coach this kid specifically.. they arent giving him up because they are tired of him getting hurt.. Shaq got hurt allot too, IMO.

As far as last night goes.. Utah got alittle lucky.. Brown/Barnes/Blake didnt play well, so yes.. without solid bench play and Odom / Gasol hurt.. (Pau is hurt.. hasnt looked good for the last 5-7 games.. Lamar is playing with a sorefoot) we wont win..

But calm down its the regular season.. like I said.. as much as we would like the Lakers to win 73 games and have Kobe 1 up MJ.. it's not going to happen in this era..

One question i do have : How does Phil work out the minutes between Ron artest and Matt Barnes? Clearly barnes has been playing allot better than Ron lately..

So somebody corrected my stats on Bynum.

He was correct. Instead of 14 & 9, he was 15 & 8. [ rounding ]

So our fantastically long Center actually got one less rebound than I gave
him credit for. So he was actually farther away from a double double than
I gave him credit for.

I guess that really makes me a Bynum basher. Giving him credit for what he
didn't actually accomplish.

re: my opinion. Actually, everything on this blog is opinion unless we
quote someone else. I specify my *opinion*, to highlight that my opinion
( & yours) is worth less than a cow fart.

re: what other people in the NBA say.

Are you referring to those same people who said the following:

Kobe is a ball hog.
Kobe drove Shaq out of town.
LBJ is the best player in the NBA.
D-Wade is a better SG than Kobe.
The Celtics were going to win the NBA finals in 2010.
The Heat will win the finals this year.
The Heat have the best chance to break the Bulls record.

re: facts. Actually, when I refer to *facts* I usually include a link to where
I got my *facts* from. You know. Like or [ kevin ding, who talks with Phil Jackson more than any of us. ]
or Fox sports, etc. etc. etc.

The thing about my *facts* is that you can always go back and check them to
see if I have mis-read/mis-interpreted them. Oddly enough, that has actually
happened and when it has I have changed my mind/opinion if necessary.

Oh wait. The person who said this was the person who was too lazy to actually
go do any research before forming an opinion. That actually is consistent
with his other posts.

Well. Now that we're back to taking pot shots at each other ... Order is
restored to the universe.


They are facts based on your own personal theories. No more, no less. What is even more embarrassing is that you reduce yourself to a fan whose journalist equivalent is John Hollinger.

We all feel so terribly bad for you that you can't accept Andrew Bynum for the important role player he is. If they could, I am sure that Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss would personally apologize to you for ever drafting Andrew Bynum. Gee, what a horrible mistake! And to think, bigs like Fran Vazquez, Sean May, Johan Petro, Ian Mahinmi and Marcin Gortat and were still available. Gortat's a very nice player and he was drafted by the Suns at #57 and immediately traded to the Magic for future consideration. Who knew!

If you were the GM of the Lakers, we would go through a draught that would make the Clippers look like the best NBA franchise in league history.

judging a players worth based on stats is the action of an idiot. stats are important, but stats NEVER tell the whole story.

as i posted before, the Lakers were able to get everything the wanted against Utah, the shots just didn't fall. it goes that way some nights, oh well.

next game!

63 Footer this loss is unacceptable,leading by 19 points at the half and still lost the game,its totally unacceptable.This is embarrasment,this should have never be a final whistle close contest,not after leading by 19 points.


re: facts. Ah no. When I post a link, that means that it's not my personal
theory. i.e. When says Bynum didn't average
a triple double last year ... That's a fact. Would you like me to post a
link to a dictionary. You seem to have problems grasping the English language.

re: GM's of the Lakers.

So what part of my opinion ( & yours ) are as meaningless as cow farts did
you not understand?

Neither one of us would be good GM's. Of course, you're free to keep your

re: Bynum. Again, you get things wrong. You have never heard me say that
Bynum was not an important role player. That's because that's not what I've
said. That's because it's not what I believe. Trevor Ariza was an important
role player. He's gone and we replaced him with Artest. Funny, we still won.
Jordan Farmar was an important role player. He's gone, we replaced him
& it looks like we'll win again.

So ... we can replace important role players and still win. Which is actually
in-line with what I wrote before.

and if you had bothered to read the archives, instead of being arrogant in your
ignorance, you would have found that I actually was pro-Bynum. Further,
if you could read my words with out the automatic bias that my name inspires,
you would find that I'm still pro -Bynum. I do *NOT* subscribe to the pro-
Bynum camp which preaches Andrew Bynum as the savior of the Lakers and
the second coming of Kareem. Because you're slow, I'll let you know that
the savior business you what the pro-Bynum camp [ yours ] preaches.

And yes, many posters besides myself have said this in different ways. Of
course, you either ignore them or vilify them and continue to twist the words
of anyone who does not say something ridiculously glowing about Bynum.

ex: I said Bynum was 14 & 9. You correctly point out that he was 15 & 8.
Yet, you chose to have a negative reaction when my error would have
meant that Bynum was closer to a double-double not farther away. Of course,
I'm a Bynum basher for pointing out that he was close to a double-double
last year.

"1:19 - 1:03, Lakers ball: On the other end, Bryant fed a pass to Gasol on the nearside perimeter. Bryant cut across Gasol to receive a dump pass, but the ball slipped off his injured right index finger and Williams picked up the loose ball. He immediately fed it to Bell, who converted on the fast-break finger roll as the Jazz took a 98-96 lead. The clock remained malfunctioned."


This would be a great analysis................if it weren't for the facts! If you would do just a little bit of research you would see that this play was the blunder by Gasol who ad-libed on the play. Gasol was instructed by Phil Jackson (don't ask me why) during the previous timeout to take the ball to basket on that play............but he decided to pass the ball anyway to a unsuspecting Kobe Bryant...............AND THAT'S WHY THE HANDOFF WAS BOBBLED!

"I made the wrong decision," Gasol said. "We talked about something on the timeout and I decided to do something different on the play. He wasn't expecting it. I was supposed to fake [the pass] and take it to the rim myself. Didn't happen."

P.S. The "but the ball slipped off his injured right index finger"................that was a nice touch to your story however,..............way to go!

If threes didnt go down,then why not attacked the basket,there is saying in zen budhism,if you cannot get under,then try the top,if you cannot get directly through something then go around it,in the 2003-04 nba final games LAKERS fail to win that year,they continued to hit threes that were not going in rather then attacked the basket,i saw the game on tv and kept shouting for the lakers to attacked the basket,this would have allowed us to get many fowls and eventually some free throws but my lakers refuse and they continued to miss the threes.They were blown away.

I love beating the LA pretty boy Fakers. I can't stand this team and these fans. I also hate Kobe, but he did say Dwill is the BEST PG in the NBA. Keep on beating LA and also in the playoffs. Also, play D on Kobe like that for 48 min. BTW Kobe was hitting shots and why can't anyone else?

LOSSESS ARE GOOD! (during the regular season)

Why? They expose weaknesses. They highlight areas of needed improvement.
And if you are on a mentally tough team, it will make you stronger.

In this case, the Lakers mentally faltered as a unit in the end. It is great that Kobe passed up to give Artest the shot. Artest missed. That simple. However, Artest's other shot was like a broken play that he created (short jumper). He should have passed on that sequence. As for Gasol, sure he changed up a diagram play. He will pay the consequences within the huddle, but at the same time Phil allows for players to think on their own and create opportunities.

The lakers will be a better team because of losses like this over the haul of a season. It makes you stay hungry, want to improve, and realize you aren't as great as people make you out to be-yet-and the only way to get there is the San Antonio way. Chip at the stone day by day with your hammer till it cracks. As kobe would say, "doin' the work".

wow, Hobbitmage and KobeMVP888 are really going for the jugular.

I thought we decided a few weeks back that we aren't going to discuss Bynum anymore until he actually gets back onto the court?

just in case you didn't see my last addition to the popcorn debate on the previous thread:

You're getting close. How about you put on a pair of latex gloves, then a pair of ski gloves, then cook up a new batch of popcorn?

It seems like the Lakers decided not to sign a free agent big man to save money. I think the Lakers are happy with Bynum's MRI result and believe he will come back strong. I just hope the Lakers don't bring him back too soon. If Bynum comes back without problem and Ratliff also comes back with no injury issue, the Lakers will be fine. I am not just comfortable with our two injury-prone centers at this point and want to have another big man. Maybe it's time to look for a big man through a trade.

Right, it was Kobe's injured finger that caused the turnover that put the Jazz ahead. It had nothing to do with him making an actual mistake. It was something he couldn't control.



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