NBA, Playoff Blogger Faceoff / Apr 19, 2009 / 10:52 am

NBA Playoffs Blogger Faceoff: Lakers vs. Jazz

Welcome to our first ever NBA Playoff Blogger Faceoff, where we pit our favorite team-related bloggers against each other to let them tell why the teams they represent will win their first round matchups. We gave them no set format, no style guide – we just told them to do their thing. Check it out and join in the debate in the comments section.

Next up: 1.Los Angeles vs. 8. Utah

Written by Kurt of ForumBlueandGold

The Lakers will win handily because the NBA is all about the matchups, and the matchups almost all favor LA. That starts inside the paint — Andrew Bynum is too strong for Mehmet Okur and Pau Gasol can shoot over a hobbled Carlos Boozer all night long. Look for the Lakers to pound the ball inside early and often until the Jazz adjust.

Then there is that little issue of Kobe Bryant — the Jazz have no matchup for him. Really, nobody does, but Ronnie Brewer doesn’t even slow him. Kobe averaged 31 a game this season against Utah and that was after playing facilitator in the last game and barely shooting (for him, anyway).

The only place the Jazz really have an advantage is at point guard — Deron Williams is a beast. A perfect fit for Jerry Sloan’s offense. Last year in the playoffs Williams abused Derek Fisher and Jordan Farmar, but this year the Lakers have better options. Look for Trevor Ariza, Shannon Brown and maybe even flashes of defense-first Olympics Kobe to get some time on Williams. The Jazz will give the Lakers a steady diet of high pick and roll but the Lakers should be able to keep it in check.

Another problem for the Jazz is they foul a lot, and the Lakers are a good foul shooting team. For the Jazz to beat the Lakers, they really need to curb that habit. And have their front-line players grow a few inches. Both of which seem pretty unlikely at this point.


Written by Andrew Katz, Dime Magazine
The Jazz have a virtually impossible task before them. But, as Chris Berman would say, “That’s why they play the game.” If the Jazz can pull this monumental upset, a number of things will have to fall in their favor.

(1) They need Carlos Boozer to play like an All-Star. Over the last two months, he hasn’t totally been himself. Averaging about 15 points and 10 boards per game since the beginning of March, Boozer’s best night out was a 25-point, 12-board showing against Golden State. Even if he didn’t have a big day when the Jazz and Lakers faced off last Tuesday, he can definitely put in work against Pau Gasol. More on that in a second…

(2) Offensively, the Jazz need to draw the Lakers’ bigs away from the basket and make them defend. They have the best recipe for that in the League – if Bynum guards Memo, he’s going to have to play him 20 feet from the basket at times. That makes L.A.’s interior defense more vulnerable, and could leave them susceptible to offensive rebounding from Paul Millsap. If Phil doesn’t want Bynum on Memo, he’ll have to deal with countless pick-and-rolls with C-Booz popping out to the top of the key. That pick-and-pop could end up being the Jazz’s secret weapon if Boozer is shooting well.

(3) This one is the trickiest of all: how to deal with L.A.’s offense. Boston carved out something of a game plan in the Finals last year, revolving around the “Make Kobe‘s life tough, but keep him off the line” philosophy. Ronnie Brewer is one of the few people in the League who can stay with Bryant athletically. The biggest concern is what happens when KB gets into the second layer of the D. If the Jazz can rotate immaculately and play awesome team D, they have a shot to slow the Lake Show down.

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  • http://myspace.com/40sand9s loc

    the lake show in 4?

  • ronnation
  • Bifflefeet Bigsby

    Lakers in 5. The Jazz are a tough group of ballers, but Showtime is about to hit primetime.

  • LakeShow

    Oh please!

    I’m 6-3 and even I could get 25 & 12 against Golden State

  • 2Cleva
  • K Dizzle

    @ AK

    so basically, barring a miracle or Stockton, Malone and Horny walkin thru Jazz doors and bein 20 years younger, Jazz join Pistons as teams with NO chance.
    Nice try on the writeup tho, that’s tough

    Is it me or were the Jazz playin better with Millsap as a starter and started to crumble when Booz came back?

  • LakeShow84

    @ KDizzle

    Boozer is straight soft.. before they could sacrifice their D because he was a solid 20-10 but when he plays length he is exposed badly.. and now he aint dropping 20-10..

    Now Millsap plays like a man.. Every contender needs a player like that!

  • TJ

    I just turned on the game and the announcer was calling Shannon Brown Chris Brown. And he wasn’t joking…

  • foolio_iglesias

    Wow.That first sentence from the Jazz fan pretty much let me know that defeating LA isn’t impossible,but in Canibus’ words,’highly motherf*cking improbable’.And Sloan just got teed up.Like Sheed(whuut).

  • http://www.twitter.com/lakersnation @LakersNation

    why is katz trying to compete with kurt . . . he’ll destroy you!

  • http://www.imeem.com/dialogs/standaloneplaylist/?p=ztKqfEZj smoove chips

    @ ronnation.

    I feel for you dawg.I had that same sick feeling last year when we got hammered by the celts.Tonight’s not gon be a good night.
    The NBA,
    where shyt happens.

  • ronnation

    it would be nice if the refs would only call fouls that occur and not call phantom fouls against milsap on kobe

    that shit happened ALL game long, pretty fuckin ridiculous

  • Markito

    only chance utah has is if deron plays out of his mind for the series, coz that’s the only match-up where utah has anything going. and that chance is still very slim to say the least.

    lakers in 5 at most.

  • hey man what it look like?

    with the way a lot of sportswriters are on the lakers jock, why even have the playoffs? can’t we just hand them the trophy already? i have no doubt the jazz will lose this series but i think they’ll be a tougher out than people give them credit for. the thing about the lakers is they still lack that grit. they are a very, very good FINESSE team. what I saw from the first game was a jazz team minus a key player and a lakers team that shot a crazy percentage. i wouldn’t put it past the jazz to take a game or two and put up a good fight.

    bottom line is…….the fat lady hasn’t sung yet.

  • Big T

    I’m excited that the Lakers get a first round bye in the playoffs… pencil them into the second round.

  • Sanpitch

    Pretty sure the same chance of winning the series was given to the Nuggets, Knicks, and Warriors. None. That’s why we play the game.

    Jazz have a shot, if they haven’t already packed their bags. I saw quite a few things in their game that I liked. If they get really physical with Gasol and Bynum and get them out of the game mentally and then later in the game physically. If they keep Brewer instead of Kirilenko on Kobe and can play some D and not be afraid to knock someone on their a$$ then we got a great series on our hands.

    Deron can pick apart that Lakers D. They need Memo back to stretch the D. You saw that time that Deron was driving down low and kicked it out to Jarron Collins who was at the top of the key and missed the second of three consecutive misses. Memo will usually drain that and the defense has to respect that and that will obviously stretch the D or you leave Memo open for a long 2 or a 3, which is his game. Gasol or Bynum will have to “stay home” which will unclog some of the middle which allows Boozer or Millsap to slash to the hoop.

    Jazz need to get rid of Boozer, he threw the ball away and then was about as slow as a runner in the “Biggest Loser” Marathon and getting back on d and allowed Ariza to cram it on him. Boozer was given a 1/4 of the court headstart and still Ariza blew past him. Horrible defense and hustle to get back on transition d.

    I like Utah’s chances if they get Memo back, but realistically they don’t have much of a shot. The Lakers are not a physical team. Bynum is the only “physical” player on that team, but he is very foul prone if it gets too physical. So if the Jazz can play physical and get Memo back they have a good shot but I predict will ultimately lose. But hell, that’s why we play the game and why we love it.

  • Sanpitch


    i agree but we are going to see phantom calls throughout the playoffs that benefit kobe, lebron, and d-wade. and then we will hear how the refs don’t give “star treatment” and stern will expect us all to believe this. it’s a broken record that needs to be fixed.

    all the while another ref scandal will surface.

  • Dave

    Look until the Jazz show a heartbeat don’t bring up the refs. Sure if it were an even series then the whining about officiating may have some merit but the Jazz don’t deserve to have any excuses. Boozer is lazy and it pisses off his teammates, and until that is rectified, the Jazz have no chance. The Lakers are too good, the only chance to win is for DWill to play outstanding, and someone else like Memo step up and play big. Hate to admit it, but the Lakers are just too good to beat without above par peformances by everyone.

  • white powder

    talent and luck win championships (and defense) The lakers have been fortunate this playoffs with all the injuries to key guys in the west. I know that last year bynum was out, but that was at the start of the year and the team had the season to learn how to adjust to playing without him. similarly, houston has learned this year how to play without a star player. Lakers are probably going to win the championship but i take solace in the fact that kobe is on the decline (still better than 99% of nba players)and the team is going to probably be too expensive to keep together for very long.

  • http://allthatjazzbasketball.blogspot.com/ Amar

    I’m just amazed by the direction of dime to go with AK to “blog” about the Jazz when I’ve been posting here and back in the hoopstv days continually for years — while actually being a Jazz blogger. (#3 in LABallTalk’s team blogger poll)

  • refssuck

    more bullshit calls from the refs…. nba refs paid to get a la cleveland final