LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 04: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers goes up for a shot against C.J. Miles #34 and Paul Millsap #24 of the Utah Jazz during Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 4, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
The Lakers are tall.
Not just in the “they are basketball players, of course they’re tall” sense, but by NBA standards. Other groups of highly paid really tall men see the Lakers and think, “Damn, they’re tall.”
Utah has no answer for tall. They hustle, they execute, they are quick. They cannot deal with tall. The Lakers won game two 111-103 Tuesday night at Staples, giving the Lakers a 2-0 series lead. Game three is Saturday night in Salt Lake City.
This game seemed to mirror Game One — the Lakers got a comfortable lead on the back of their big men, the Jazz catch up to start the fourth quarter and it stays close enough through the end to keep fans on edge. At least until Kobe hits a few shots.
What kept the Jazz in this one was the Lakers 20 turnovers, which gave the Jazz some easy baskets in transition (plus just a lot of empty trips down the floor for the Lakers).
“(The Jazz) were very aggressive attacking the ball tonight,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. “I don’t think we were ready for their charge they started the game with and I think they stayed aggressive most of the game.”
The Jazz were their usual balanced selves with five players in double figures, led by the hustling Paul Millsap off the bench who had 26 points and 11 rebounds.
But the Jazz had no answer for tall.
Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom combined for 50 points on 75 percent shooting and they pulled down 44 rebounds (13 on offense). There was one sequence when the game was still in doubt with 3:45 left in the Fourth quarter, when Gasol grabbed the offensive rebound off a Fisher missed free throw, Artest took a corner three that missed but Odom grabbed the offensive rebounds, the ball went to around to Artest again who missed a layup this time, but Artest got his own offensive rebound and scored on the putback.
The Jazz had no defense for long. That Lakers length also makes their defense better.
Utah has missed 34 missed shots in the paint in the game, 20 in the first half. The Lakers blocked 13 shots on the night
The Jazz have to be discouraged. They hit their three point shots (42 percent) they did a good job of executing their plan of making Ron Artest beat them (he was an unimpressive 7 of 17 on the night), they got the turnovers — and they still lost. And now they have to win four out of the next five to knock the Lakers out. They have to know that is not going to happen.