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Five things to take away from Lakers' 102-96 loss to the Utah Jazz

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1. The Lakers' offense went in a late-game drought.The mechanics on whether a Kobe Bryant scoring spree is good for the team proves rather simple. When he's making them, ride the momentum. When he's missing them, try something else. Even if there featured several elements to the Lakers' 102-96 loss Friday to the Utah Jazz, they could've grinded out a win had they followed this blueprint properly.

Bryant brought the Lakers back in the game by scoring 14 consecutive points, including three three-pointers, a mid-range jumper and three free-throws, with the latter shots giving the Lakers a 96-91 with 2:31 remaining. That would mark the last time the Lakers' scored for the rest of the contest, as the the team mysteriously went away from Bryant's hot hand and broke down on numerous sequences. Lakers forward Pau Gasol missed a 21-footer. A poor dump off pass between Gasol and Bryant led to Utah guard Deron Williams swiping the ball and creating a fast-break basket for Jazz guard Raja Bell to give the Jazz a 98-96 loss with 1:02 left. And Ron Artest missed two consecutive shots in the final minute, including a play that featured Bryant passing to him for an open corner three-pointer.

I don't fault Bryant for passing to Artest since it establishes trust in him and could come in handy, as indicated by his key three-pointer in Game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals. But considering Artest's shooting mark, he should've passed up the shot.

The Lakers' offensive problems go beyond following the hot hand of Bryant, who actually went six of 17 before his fourth-quarter shooting streak. With Gasol and Lamar Odom combining for only 22 of the 79 field goals, it's obvious the Lakers didn't utilize their strengths enough. It's not just a matter of feeding them entry passes just for the sake of it. The Lakers shot four of 15 from three-point range and feature poor shooting performances from Artest (three of eight for 11 points), Derek Fisher (one of seven for four points), Steve Blake (zero of seven for zero points) and Shannon Brown (two of five for eight points).

2. The Lakers couldn't make defensive stops. Bryant's hot shooting streak became fairly worthless, considering the Lakers couldn't stop Utah on the other end. Deron Williams' 29 points on 10 of 14 shooting, three of six mark from three-point range and 12 assists came for multiple reasons that are all too familiar for Laker fans. Fisher gave him too much open space in the perimeter to hit shots. The Lakers didn't switch correctly on pick-and-rolls and curls to the basket. They didn't shut off the lane when Williams drove through traffic. And they failed to play help defense when he beat Fisher. Williams made two jumpers and dished off an assist to Bell in between Bryant's scoring spree.

3. The Lakers' bench couldn't secure second-quarter lead.Big picture perspective: The reserves' second-quarter meltdown will serve as a learning experience and make them an even stronger effort. Short-term perspective: This was a huge reason why the Lakers lost. They entered the second quarter with a 33-17 lead, but ended it with 50-46 half-time deficit for plenty of reasons. The Utah bench went on an 11-0 run. The Killer B's shot two of 10. And the team's shoddy offensive execution led to the Jazz converting on easy buckets, creating more momentum and making it harder for the Lakers to stop it.

The Lakers' bench has largely played consistent, so the team should frankly move on from this performance. But the Lakers should ensure that they're better prepared against an opposing team's bench in a tough road environment in the future.

4. The malfunctioning clock proved to be a huge distraction.By no means did this largely affect the outcome of the game. But EnergySolutions Arena shouldn't be having shot clock issues in a one possession game so late in the contest. The issue remained prevalent for the last 1:32 and appeared most egregious when referees stopped play with 28 seconds left as the Lakers trailed 98-96 because only eight seconds remained on the shot clock. Fisher rightfully bounced the ball in frustration, as the Lakers started establishing their offense.

5. The Lakers came in with the right focus. This might fall on the cutting room floor, but the Lakers should feel proud that they stormed to such an early lead. The play featured strong ball movement, team defense and lots of energy. It was uncertain whether the Lakers would appear that sharp, considering the past two days featured a day off Wednesday, a light practice Thursday and a flight later in the evening.

With the Lakers trying to find whatever ways possible to sustain their energy for the long haul, they should feel comforted that days of rest will likely feature a rejuvenated team rather than a rusty one.

--Mark Medina

Twitter.com/latmedina

E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Lakers guard Kobe Bryant leans past Jazz guard Ronnie Price for a short-range shot in the first half Friday night. Credit: Steve C Wilson / Associated Press

 
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You Can't Win Em All

As bad as the Lakers played against Chicago, you could see this coming at Utah against a very resilient team

Yes, little disturbing that they have lost all the tough games. don't need them getting too cocky against easy teams and then having to face playoff level opponents. I'd sure like to see them beat a good team on the road.

bynum needs to come back - and if this dude can't finish the season without getting hurt they need to trade his arse.

Kobe is freaking amazing!!!!

One thing i noticed with the shot clock.

it was at about 0.40 seconds when the lakers gained possesion of the ball and by 24 seconds fisher had passesd the ball over the halfway line on offence. However the shot clock was at 13. Then the refs stopped the play to make sure the shot clock was ok on 22. but when they restarted the game they didnt add on the time that had been wasted. so they had 22 on the shot clock but lots of game clock had been eaten up.

surely that possesion is void and they need to make sure the game clock is correct especially under 1 minute?

I was watching at 4.30am so maybe i was hallucinating

I know it's frustating to blow a big lead and loose the game!!!

But it's just a game. Bench played poorly & bad defense.

I might be wrong but this Utah team is weaker than last year.

Disappointing loss. Derek Fisher why are you giving Derron Williams so much space behind the arc? Let him burn you and allow him to make a play. The only bad thing would of been the Utah Jazz scoring a 2 point basket not a 3.
Sucks Lakers lost, hopefully they won't lose again for the rest of the year.

I guess it wasn't "Kobe Time" last night after all.

Hear my song "Kobe Time" @ http://365songsfor2010.wordpress.com/2010/06/18/june-18th-kobe-time/

We are losing against good teams on the road is my biggest and most obvious observation. It is easy to blow your own horn when beating under 500 teams at home or on the road. But the true champions send a message to the contenders especially on the road. I read Kobe saying the same sheet he talked last year when he was about to face lebron on Xmas day that the game against Miami was just a regular game. Kobe you are my Dawg and you are a good copy of Jordan but you fall way short in my opinion. Jordan would have used that Xmas day game to send a message to the Dream team that they would never forget. Remember he embarrassed you and the Lakers last Xmas to the point that you were pelted by foam fingers by the very fans that adore you? Kobe ask yourself how would anyone consider you better than Jordan when the whole basketball universe sits down to watch you play on Xmas day and you get embarrassed for the second consecutive year? To be like Mike or even better than Mike you gat to play like Mike.

Trust me Kobe, Miami will bring their A+ game on Xmas. Last year at my Xmas party the persons were equally divided between Laker supporters and haters. I was so embarrassed by the Lakers performance that I wanted to throw my Guinness bottle at my television. Kobe you ruined my Xmas. But I knew it was coming from the comments leading up to the contest starting with the two co captains. You and Fisher downplayed the contest stating that the Cavs are not rivals. Listen Xmas and Thanksgiving are special occasions and you want your team to bring their A game. I support the Dallas Cowboys who at this point are playing for nothing besides pride. I was proud how we took it to the champions Saints until a boneheaded play at the end. Kobe you need to be firing up your team because the Heat are a potential finals opponent. Remember Lebron stole your MVP awards and in many persons opinion the best player on the planet award. If you were really like Mike you would turn the King into a Court Jester or Royal Fool. Or is Lebron really better than you Kobe? Remember when Jordan faced Clyde Drexler in the Finals? Talking heads said that the only advantage Clyde had over him was that Clyde shot the 3 pointer better. What did Jordan do in game one he hit 6 three pointers at the half alone while being guarded by Cliff Robinson. Now imagine if they had proclaimed some other person as better that Jordan and gave the MVP awards to someone else who Jordan had to face what would Jordan had done Kobe? You have the moves, the shots and the flair but you don't have the intangibles Jordan possessed. Jordan would have said the Miami game would be a tough contest and the Bulls must bring their A game..... But he would never be so nonchalant for two years in a row against the proclaimed champions. I never liked jordan while he played but I always respected his drive.

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.

Playoff caliber teams are beating the Lakers. Not a good sign...

Playoff caliber teams are beating the Lakers. Not a good sign...

Posted by: troy | November 27, 2010 at 06:51 AM
=====

Just like last season. It happened the entire season. Translation: meaningless.

Lakers have more talent, the Jazz have more heart!

There is no shame in losing to Utah on their home court. They played really well and their home court is one of the most formidable places to play in the NBA. Even though we lost, I found the game exciting to watch and Kobe, well, Kobe was amazing down the stretch. We made a couple of mistakes in the final minute or so, and the lesson is learned, I believe - you can afford mistakes like that against weaker teams, but not good ones like the Jazz. Against teams like this, we have to demand perfection from everyone, especially down the stretch.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Playoff caliber teams are beating the Lakers. Not a good sign...

Posted by: troy | November 27, 2010 at 06:51 AM

Well, not really. We beat Chicago and the Lakers were in it with the Jazz till the last minute - a changed play by Gasol and a couple of misses did it. That game could've gone either way.

This team is a really good one with plenty of weapons. Execution-wise they're still learning to gel especially on defense. I wouldn't fret too much about this loss. Just move on to the next game and apply the lessons learned.

"We are what we consistently do - excellence then, is not an act, but a habit" - Aristotle

I've seen this team play and most of the time they've got good habits and are excellent in what they do. They just have to continue focusing and working on the things they're weak at. The Jazz habit of falling behind to stage dramatic comebacks, on the other hand, can work for only so long. At some point in time, it'll really come back to bite them in the rear end. And when it comes, it'll be at the most unopportune moments that really matters.

Good Morning Laker Fam,

A tough road lost yesterday. I'll credit the Jazz for executing better than the Lakers in the final 2 minutes. The biggest play being the botched handoff between Pau
and Kobe that resulted in the uncontested game winning layup.


Oh well...no worries cause like the Boss says they'll be "Better Days"...


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmwJQ62Cs_o

The lakers are lacking depth right now because the jazz bench killed them. why in the world Would you let Ron artest shot a three When you have the ball Kobe and were on fire? why go for two when down 4 with 11 seconds left?

I was mad after the game, 1. the shot-clock really hurt the Lakers flow. They had stops, but the shot clock stopped their momentum and fast-break.

2. Artest could not make shots, and it costs the Lakers the game

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.

I am reasonably certain that if we had played Ratliff last night, the Lakers
would have won. No, I'm not saying that Ratliff is a great player. No, I'm
not saying that Ratliff is better than Bynum.

I am saying that the extra body at the C/PF position would have adjusted
the rebounds from a -10 deficit closer to zero or actually tilted it in our
favor.

One could also argue that giving Sasha a few minutes would have made
a difference as the rest of our shooters were cold. Enemies of the Machine,
would beg to differ. Let them beg. :)

All of that being said ....

Yawn. I scratch my butt in a manly fashion and wait for the next game.
It's not even december, the team is not healthy, and we have one of the
best records in the NBA. We've still got 80% of the season left.

Would you like some popcorn? I washed my hands after scratching. [grin]

@Hobbitmage
I don't think there's enough soap in the world that will make me feel safe in accepting any of that popcorn! LOL!

Our bench has been excellent this season up until last night's game.

It probably will be many moons until the Killer Bees and Fish all shoot that poorly on the same night.

Kobe finally got hot in the fourth, but for some weird reason, the team went away from him. I don't blame him for passing to a wide open Artest because that's what your supposed to do- move the ball and pass to the open shooter. Unfortunately for us, he missed. Ron-Ron did take a bad shot late(one of his typical floating J's), but I don't blame him for it.

I wonder if Ron would accept some pointers from our shooting coach, The Rifleman. I would love to see the comparisions, in percentages, between Ron's accuracy when he shoots the ball jumping straight up and when he shoots it floating. It has to be a huge disparity.

It's just one loss and the Jazz did play great after the first quarter. One thing that still bothers me, is that the defensive intensity just hasn't been there for this squad. We've seen it in small spurts, but I think there was only one game this year(against Portland) in which they played focused team D for 48 minutes.

forgot to add this to my post:

@LRob:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrpXArn3hII

mclyne,

1st. morning.

2nd. re: soap. What if I use the anti-bacterial .... *chuckle*

3rd. you wrote: Kobe finally got hot in the fourth, but for some weird reason, the team went away from him. I don't blame him for passing to a wide open Artest because that's what your supposed to do- move the ball and pass to the open shooter. Unfortunately for us, he missed. Ron-Ron did take a bad shot late(one of his typical floating J's), but I don't blame him for it.

my response:

http://www.ocregister.com/sports/bryant-277817-lakers-artest.html

snippet:
The Lakers led by 19 points early in the second quarter before hitting what Coach Phil Jackson called a "flat spot." Bryant started 5for 16 from the field, then forced Utah to swarm him at the end.

“Everybody in the building knows … who’s going to get the ball the last four minutes of the game,” Utah’s C.J. Miles said. “The last three of the four years they’ve ran that same play the last three or four minutes of the game.”

Said Deron Williams, who had 29 points and 12 assists for the Jazz: “Any time a guy like that gets into a rhythm, you have to get the ball out of his hands.”


so ......

They went away from him because the Utah defense forced someone
else to beat them. Sadly, Ricky's GOAT wasn't up to it. And before the
spanish contingent comes back with some sort of trumped up nonsense:

http://www.ocregister.com/sports/bryant-277817-lakers-artest.html

snippet:
Bryant did commit a turnover with 1:05 to play trying to break free from a trap and said afterward there was "miscommunication" between him and Pau Gasol on the play. But Gasol said: "That wasn't a miscommunication. I made the wrong decision. I decided to do something different on the play. He wasn't expecting it."

Hello, koby 0-11 on a row? :S

@Hobbit
Mornin'
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?

Yeah, I see now that the Jazz were coming at Kobe pretty hard, but that's when a two man game between he and Pau comes in handy. The Jazz do play pretty good D, but not well enough to stop that one-two combo. I guess it also helps out their D when the Jazz can sag off of ALL of our shooters since they were collectively building a brick house of shame all night.

How much longer is LA going to deal with the lack of a 3rd big man? Odom playing the lone back up center is killing them on the boards. Odom is not the most consistent guy in the league. Rebounding was crucial in the LA loss, not to mention the terrible shooting by Blake and Ron, more so Blake cause I expect consistent shooting from him. Kobe needs to make a front office rant. I am a Laker fan but props to Utah on this one, Deron’s three and Bell’s steal were crunch time plays.

Good game last night Kobe once again amazing but the lakers better realize this is a new jazz team were longer stronger and have more heart watch out its not gonna be what it use to be come playoffs......GO JAZZ!!!!!

Frustrating game to watch for sure. But considering how bad everyone shot, how bad the bench played, getting out rebounded without our 2 centers, clock malfunctions...etc and we only lose by a nose on the road to a team considered by some to be the main threat to challenge the Lakers in the west, I see no reason to panic. I'm actually kind of blown away at how good they have played with Kobe coming off knee surgery and playing his way back into shape, no Bynum, and a bunch of new guys trying to learn the Triangle and team D. If anyone would have said they will be 13-3 at this point before the season started I'd say I'll take it. It is a long season and PJ will use it to have the boys ready come playoff time. As long as we stay healthy, get Bynum back and continue to gel as a team we should win the west and have HCA. Whoever comes out of the East even though there are only 4 good teams will not keep pace. Celtics will wear down because they are old, SVG will find a way to have his Magic team choke, the Heat are off to a slow start and Chicago could be the main threat but won't have the best record.

Jordan and the Chicago Bulls leading by 19 points at half time,were they expected to lose such a one-sided countess?no never.Jordan and his mate Pippen would have never allow for such defeat.Defence/offence,offence to defence Jordan surely were very good at both.Bull leading by 19 points under Jordan and Pippen Utah would have been turned into a slaughter house,a lesson giving by the the ALMIGHTY AIR,YOUR AIRNESS the one and only your highness MJ,it would have been Lessons for the ages.

Island Priest i am all the way with you,i am from the islands too.We have all scene this laker team all before.getting beat on the road by stronger teams.Not under MJ .

1. Fisher is a great player, and his strengths show in the playoffs, but in the regular season the game is passing him by. The point guards now are faster and bigger than D. Fish..If he plays past this year, I would consider him one of those guys who can not walk away from the game.

2. Coach Jackson, needs to find more playing time for Matt Barnes. The man knows how to move without the ball.

3.Pau Gasol and Ron (the mentalist) Artest needs to give 100% on every play

4. LO at 100% effort, Kobe, and an aggressive Pau Gasol are the best threesome in the NBA.

5. They were bored after the 1st quarter, too much turkey.


Though loss, we had that game won at the 2 minute mark, it seemed, after a great run by Kobe.
Kobe made the correct play when doubled and hit an open Artest in the corner. Unfortunately, nobody could hit a 3 last night or we win that game no problem...13-3 not bad without AB but with an easy schedule so far. Carry on Laker's it's a long season.

I am in the Xmas spirit already so I am thinking about the Xmas game. One of the things Kobe does is hide his true feelings. Like in the finals he said that it s no big deal that the opponent was Boston. After he had won he said how great it was that it was Boston. But what Kobe must realize is that though he is immortal he leads mortal men and must fire up his team and the fan base with his comments. He cannot downplay every big game and situation. I for one thought that his game 7 performance was due to him keeping all of the butterflies inside instead of releasing them. But as a true warrior Kobe found a way to win the big game when his shot was not falling.


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