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The results of LA Ball Talks team blog contest are in. And once again, Jazz fans have made it clear that True Blue Jazz is their favorite Jazz blog on the Internet. Thanks to all who voted. Stay tuned because we have big big BIG news on the way....Prepare for Jazz heaven.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Give and take with Brian from SportsHubLA.com and LATimes.com

First things first. Congrats to Kobe on winning the MVP award today, he was as worthy as anyone else this year. He was not my pick as I am on the record as saying the KG was more valuable to his team, but Kobe is right there and I have no problems with him winning it this year. Quick question for you LA fans - Before Pau came on board it seems to me that Kobe was not getting the MVP love that he was at the end of the season. Is it possible that Pau may be just as valuable to this team as Kobe is considering the tear you went on with him in the lineup? (Now I am going to go throw up and gargle with bleach for saying something nice about the Lakers. Believe me, it took all the good mojo in me to write a positive comment for Kobe and his crew of misfits.)

On to the give and take with Brian. Before the series started we agreed to give a 3 ways to beat the Lakers and 3 ways to beat the Jazz give and take. Below is Brian's response on how to beat the Lakers and how to lose to the Lakers, its kind of long, but very well thought out and informative I thought. My responses on how to beat the Jazz and how to lose to the Jazz should be up on his site http://www.sportshubla.com/ shortly so check it out. I will post my responses here tomorrow as a preview to game 2 so stay tuned for that. Thanks to Brian for being willing to do it and for sending over all his Laker homers to our humble little site.

Three Ways to Beat to the Lakers:

1) Make them shoot jumpers.

The Lakers are more than willing to take (sixth in the NBA in 3 point attempts) and are plenty able to make (sixth in 3 point percentage) shots from distance. They’ve had games where they shoot themselves to a nice win. But while it pays off from time to time, the Lakers are never a better offensive squad when they’re chucking triples like the Warriors on a bender. Fans are still bitter over a late season, 114-111 loss to the Grizzlies in which the Lakers completely obliterated the franchise record with 45 attempts from beyond the arc. 45. In four quarters. Seriously. When LA becomes content taking open looks from the perimeter, it plays against their greatest strengths- penetration, post play, ball movement- and to one of their greatest weaknesses- namely transition D.

Denver lacked the defensive discipline to keep the Lakers on the outside, and to be honest, when they’re going well LA doesn’t settle. The Nuggets tried to zone, but the Lakers were able to find holes inside, and once that happened it was basically a jailbreak towards the Denver hoop. But well placed, zones can throw off the Lakers attack enough to give the opposition a few minutes of empty trips to work with.
It’s not simply a question of packing the paint, but of closing off entry passes, and defenders sticking their man off the ball. And…

2) Get Physical.

Another area in which the Nuggets failed, but where the Jazz could thrive (just ask the Rockets and their video staff, right?). The line on the Lakers, and especially Pau Gasol, is that some of the rough stuff can bother them. There was certainly a stretch where teams were very physical with players in the post, and it seemed to alter their game pretty significantly. Some of that manifested itself in T’s, particularly from Kobe, who spent the second half of the season riding refs like Red Pollard on Seabiscuit. That’s less likely to happen in the playoffs, but physical play would still have the benefit of tossing off the timing and flow that makes the Lakers offense so difficult to handle, as well as creating some frustration.
The Jazz certainly have the horses to make this happen, and frankly I’d be shocked if they didn’t make an effort to throw some bodies around, given what they’ve done this year and in the first round. Boozer, Millsap, Harpring, Williams, and so on. The Lakers thrive in space. Don’t give them any.

3) Don’t Stand Still.

One reason the Lakers were so successful against the Nuggets (aside from their Chernobyl-esque ability to melt down) is that once the Lakers shut down Denver’s running game through quality inside play and good work cutting off outlet passes, the Nuggets had no halfcourt answer besides isos from AI and ‘Melo. There was zero ball movement, in part because there wasn’t any player movement, either. In four games, the Nuggets managed only 74 assists, which is shocking considering how much they run, and how many possessions they generate.

One reason I like the Jazz as a team is, similar to the Lakers, they run an offense predicated on motion. They back cut, they screen and roll, they set picks away from the ball. All of these things give LA’s defense problems. Certainly the Jazz have had success against the Lakers in the past by running them ragged in the half court. Even better for Utah, if they can push pace, they’ll be able to take advantage of the aforementioned weakness in transition defense.


Three Ways to Lose to the Lakers:

1) Over Play Kobe.

There was a time when tossing bodies at Kobe would only get him to a) try and shoot over them or b) try to dribble through them. No more. The Lakers have far too many weapons to go with the “anyone but Kobe can beat us” strategy. Over the last two seasons, Bryant has become far more willing to pass out of doubles and find the open man, and now that the Lakers have open men worth finding, the strategy has paid big dividends. Teams that tried to force the ball out of his hands via hard double and triple teams consistently paid with open looks from the other four guys on the floor, as Kobe would trap defenders in no-man’s land. Moreover, with guys like Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Luke Walton, Jordan Farmar, etc., the Lakers have too many outstanding passers to make that work. You can’t let those guys play four on three or three on two.

In the end, it’s the worst of both worlds. Rarely does the double work, and the result- getting the ball out of Kobe’s hands- generally results in the Lakers getting an easier look than Bryant probably would been able to generate himself, had the D played him straight. The Jazz have some solid individual defenders in Ronnie Brewer and AK-47. Use ‘em.

Along those lines…

2) Ignore the Supporting Cast.

I’m not talking just Gasol or Odom. I mean everyone down the line. The more players the Lakers can get into double figures, the more likely they are to win. Kobe is going to get his points, and in the triangle, Gasol is a genuine force. Those are givens. But when the supporting guys go off, it’s trouble. Just ask George Karl about Luke Walton.

When Sasha Vujacic gets nine, Vlad Radmanovic pours in 10, Fish gets his 14, and Farmar gets 11 (I’m just tossing numbers, of course) the Lakers are almost impossible to beat. Kobe can attract so much attention on the offensive end, but teams have to recognize that the Lakers are dominant when they get balance, and that Kobe will play in a way to make it happen. He’ll still take shots that aren’t quality, but the number of CIFSPG (Cringe Inducing Forced Shots Per Game) Bryant hoists has gone down considerably. If the defense gives him 18 looks, that’s what he’ll take. But if that’s the case, he’s likely to have set up his teammates for a lot of great shots, and LA is likely to have piled up points.

3) Let Them Get Comfortable in the Paint.

Everything the Lakers do well is predicated on getting the ball inside. Their offense is built around it, as is their defensive stability. When it doesn’t happen, things tend to get pretty wonky. Of course, keeping them out of the lane is easier said than done. Kobe can penetrate against almost any defender, and between LO and Gasol, they have a ton of length to exploit. Among the reserves, Farmar is extremely quick off the dribble, and loves to attack the rim. Walton is very comfortable posting up.

Odom in particular has become almost impossible to defend since the arrival of Gasol. The worry was that the move would leave him shooting more jumpers, but instead it’s been just the opposite. His entire game seems to exist around the rack, whether in transition, positing up, or attacking off the dribble. As a result, when he is taking jumpers, they’re going up with more confidence. After posting shooting percentages of 49%, 49%, and 41% over the first three months, Odom has gone crazy in the second half. 62.3% in February, 55% in March (when Gasol missed some games) and 63.4% in April.
Once the Lakers can get the ball inside, their ball and player movement makes them tough to stop. All of their big players can shoot or distribute from inside. They’re a great drive and kick team. They slide off screens very well and move to the hoop. If they can get comfortable there, Utah is in trouble.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pau is no doubt VERY valuable to the Lakers but keep in mind that when he went down with an ankle injury KOBE led the Lakers to 5 or 6 straight victories...Yes with both Pau and Bynum on the bench with injuries...In fact one of those was a straight demolition of YOUR Utah Jazz...MVP, MVP, MVP!

pslakerfan said...

Nice to see you and Brian K. teaming up for the breakdown. They did it with the Nuggets blog during the first series, and it was great.

As for the Kobe MVP thing, we will never know. I think the answer lies in the Andrew Bynum injury. Before the injury (and before Pau obviously) the Lakers were killing teams. They were on a pretty serious winning streak and I am not sure they would have had a worse record with a healthy Bynum and no Pau. Of course with no Bynum and no Pau the team would have collapsed. Basically it would be almost the same team that they have had for the last two years.

I think it is important to note that they made the playoffs those two years with a supporting cast of Smush Parker, Kwame Brown, Brian Cook, and a mediocre version of Lamar Odom. If you don't already know Odom is playing All Star caliber ball since the arrival of Pau.

Funny thing is I think Kobe was probably the MVP the last two years more so than this year because of the D-League quality of teammates that he had and yet still made the playoffs. Similar to what LBJ is doing this year and you can see how that helped his MVP chances....

I just love how CP3's teammates suddenly suck when people start talking about MVP. Am I mistaken or did Tyson Chandler and David West not make the All Star game with CP3. Awful lot of assists to those two guys........

Just my two dollars worth (adjusting for inflation)

Danielle said...

OK, so CJ's foul on Kobe on Sunday was REALLY stupid. But, LBJ just fould Rondo at the end of the 2nd with a dumb blocking foul. He should know better.

I'm not excusing CJ, but he's not the only one to make a dumb foul in the playoffs. I think he might be useful in this round against the Lakers. Especially since KK and Matt are MIA.

The Machine said...

So basically the Jazz are going to win one game.

Tej said...

"He also was able to get the foul line at will by screaming like a little bitch if any Jazz player even looked at him wrong."

Calling Kobe Bryant a "little bitch" ? The man is one of the most prolific scorers in NBA history and you call him a "little bitch". "Kobe did not earn those foul calls" or something to that extent to convey the same message could have easily been written.

I don't know, to see some one write that about one of the best to ever play the game of basketball is just wrong.

I may not like Lebron or D-Wade but I respect them for there athletic ability and their talent.

Anonymous said...

nice stuff hammy.

seriously dude loose the boozer on your name... hammy rocks already, dont overdue it.

as for the mvp thing, i am a laker fan but i'd rather have the larry o'brien trophy than mvp.

majority of those who won it lost in the playoffs (this era mostly).

as for the 2nd game, if your boys dont play the way they can, its over...

purple & gold baby!

MARINE_MAN_PROVO

Boozers Hammy said...

Hi Tej - I respect Kobe's basketball abilities, in fact I am now on record saying that he deserved the MVP which is directly related to his abilities. You misunderstood that comment as it has more to do with the Ref's coddling him than disrespecting his abilities. He is a smart player and knows that he can intimidate the refs and get calls by screaming like a little bitch. Keep reading further down and I do point out that Kobe does not earn his fouls. In fact I dared you Laker fans to try and prove that even 50% of his fouls are legit and I am still waiting.

ldeep said...

50% are you kidding. You could argue a couple but most of them were legit. Obviously your team plays physical so thats gonna send him to the line a lot especially when he can beat brewer to the paint whenever he wants. The jazz players they knew that was a mistake and I don't think anyone expects a repeat performance of Kobe in the paint and force to foul games from you guys (to the point of 23 trys again)

pslakerfan said...

The reason that no one has taken up your 50% challenge is that it is a stupid one. All calls are subjective and I could prove all were legit or all were BS. What would be the point..... By the way I bet you I am giving you the bird right now. Prove I am not........

Amazing_Happens said...

3 Ways to Beat the Jazz:

1. Have the refs on your side.
2. Cheat.
3. Pray.

pslakersfan's mom said...

Stewart, don't do crude gestures like that. it's not nice.

put your finger down...

pslakersfan's mom said...

...oh, and please work. You have spent more time thinking of insults to put on the Jazz Blog than you have taking orders at the drive-thru window. Get to work Stewy! We all now you root for whatever team wins. In fact, I forgot to call and let you know your Kansas Jayhawk package from SI showed up at the house. Along with a few other innapropriate magazines.

pslakerfan said...

I have no idea what all of that means, but my mom is dead and has been since I was about the age you obviously are now.

For the fifth time, stay classy SLC, stay classy.

Mom jokes, very impressive.....

C.B. Jack said...

for real? automatically you assume a Jazz fan wrote that? hypocritical of you to assume that a jazz fan was behind it as we've been swarmed by lakers fans on this site. probably just another troll like you. weak sauce.

by the way, the line is "Stay Classy San Diego"...you keep screwing it up.

pslakerfan said...

what about those comments makes you think it was not a Jazz fan???

"You have spent more time thinking of insults to put on the Jazz Blog than you have taking orders at the drive-thru window".

Sounds like a Jazz fan to me. And everyone knows it is San Diego, it is called a joke.....

By the way where is the grown up that moderates this place.......

Ron Boone said...

My guess is the "grown up that moderates this place" is sick of you taking things so personal. Never has there been another participant on this blog that is so quick to react to comments. Don't worry about it. If you are going to dish it, don't expect everyone to just sit back and applaud you for being so good at bashing people. Be prepared to take it as well. Or we can talk about the Jazz/Lakers series too. Whatever works for you.

C.B. Jack said...

So all Jazz fans reside in Salt Lake?

What's your prediction for tonight's game ps?

Jazz 109, Lake Show 105

Anonymous said...

I laughed at that 109-105 prediction before the game started. I laughed at it even more after it ended.

pslakerfan said...

Well said my friend.... And yes apparently all Jazz fans are from Salt Lake City as I was at Staples for both games and have seen a total of 3 Jazz fans....

Anonymous said...

2-0...prediction, SWEEP.