Something funny happened during Kobe’s coronation last night — the Jazz forgot how to play defense. That and Deron Williams decided to disappear for stretches at time. While the aforementioned Williams did finish with a respectable stat line (25 points, 10 assists), nine of his points came in the last minute or so of the game when he FINALLY decided to shoot the ball.
After another slow start, Williams had a great 3rd quarter (while being guarded primarily by Jordan Farmar) but when Phil Jackson put the criminally underrated Derek Fisher back in, Williams was content to spend the 4th quarter being a distributor. It wasn’t until the game was just about decided when Williams decided to contribute to the final stanza.
However, this post isn’t about Deron Williams. Just the first couple of paragraphs. The rest is and should be about the Lakers.
While we aren’t convinced they are the favorite to win the whole enchilada (the Lakers play NO DEFENSE), they are playing really good offensive basketball and of course, they have the MVP. Just ask the Lakers crowd — a paragon of basketball knowledge is there ever was one.
I’m sorry, what, exactly, were the “UTAH SUCKS” chants for?
I did hear Craig Sager say something about Utah fans booing Derek Fisher, but for some reason, I’m having a hard time believing Lakers fans pay that much attention to the NBA to equate the two. Perhaps I’m wrong.
Nevertheless, led by Bryant (34 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists) the Lakers dusted the Jazz, 120-110 and while Kobe gets the lion’s share of the credit, he owes a great deal to his supporting cast and the free throw line. Joining Kobe in the offensive explosion were Fisher, who had 22 points while knocking down every open jump shot that came to him; Lamar Odom, who posted an incredible stat line consisting of 19 points, 16 rebounds and 2 blocked shots; and Pau Gasol with his 20 points and 5 blocked shots.
As for the free throw line thing, the Lakers shot 43, while the Jazz shot 16. You can draw your own conclusions about this discrepancy.
Whenever an NBA superstar — or in this case, the league MVP — can get this kind of support from his teammates, there’s not much the opposition can do BUT improve their defense, a concept the Utah Jazz had better figure out before they lose control of this series (something that might have already happened).
Before we close this post, I’d just like to ask something about Doug Collins: when did he become Kobe’s official mouthpiece? His slurping of Bryant was so severe last night, I was afraid he might get a case of lock-jaw.
Game 3 is in Utah on Friday night. I would expect a raucous crowd.