NBA Playoffs: Los Angeles Lakers vs. Utah Jazz
April 17, 2009 by AlexV
The settling of the up and down western conference standings has finally come. The matchups are set, and the playoffs begin this Saturday April 18th. The first bout features the number one seeded Lakers going against the number eight seeded Utah Jazz. Time to discuss.
The Utah Jazz have all season long been noted as a team who can be dangerous come playoff time, and especially for the Lakers since they were able to take their series last season to six games. But that was back earlier this year when the Jazz were in contention for a playoff seed as high as number two. Now the only recognition they are getting is that they can pose problems for the Lakers. Too bad they won’t pose enough problems four times.
The Jazz are led by one of the league’s top point guards in Deron Williams with his 19.4ppg and 10.7apg. They are also spurred by the much improved play of Ronnie Brewer, Paul Millsap, and even C.J. Miles. If you throw in the scrappy play by international stars Mehmet Okur and Andrei Kirilenko, as well as the three point baller in Kyle Korver, you most certainly have a solid unit. However, the Jazz’s bad side is not too promising.
Guys like Okur, Kirilenko, Brewer, etc do not have the ability to take over a game and can barely create their own shots. When you throw in the fact that the one other guy on the team who could have done that besides Williams, Carlos Boozer, has struggled to get back into the swing of things since his recent return from injury, then the Jazz are nothing more than a team that may be running on fumes by games four and five of the series.
The Lakers on the other hand, now there’s a squad! No one on the Jazz (and much less the entire NBA) is the equivalent or on par with Kobe Bryant. No one on the Jazz is as consistent and solid as Pau Gasol, and the one guy who was close, Boozer, is still catching up. Another thing L.A. has going for them is that there big man who recently returned from injury, Andrew Bynum, has actually transitioned a lot smoother than Boozer.
But the most telling characteristic about each team is this; the roles of the Utah Jazz players are mostly defined by what Deron Williams can do each night on the court whereas for the Lakers… everybody on the team knows their role.
I believe that the high dependence for success resting on the shoulders of one player in Utah (Williams) against the unit on a mission to absolve last season’s failures in L.A. will undoubtedly prevail in five games. See ya Jazzies.