Familiar story for Lakers, Jazz
LOS ANGELES -- Second verse, same as the first.
The Lakers' 119-109 victory against the Jazz on Tuesday in the second game of their first-round series (
Lakers take big first-half lead. Lakers lose big lead in the second half. Jazz make late-game push. Lakers come through in the end.
After the way the Lakers finished Game 1 on Sunday, a disgruntled
The one constant during
After the Lakers scored 62 first-half points in Game 1 and won 113-100, Sloan said his team wasn't nasty enough. Sloan joked that he tried to make up for that during the off-day by giving "them some nasty food. We'll see if that did any good."
Well, it didn't. If anything, the Jazz were worse defensively Tuesday than they were in Game 1. They gave up 66 points in the first half, with 38 of those points coming in the paint, a point of concern for Sloan coming into the series. Worse yet, they committed only one foul in the first quarter as the Lakers stormed out to a 41-27 lead. As a player, Sloan would have at least knocked a couple of guys on the floor before he let an opponent score more than 40 points in the first quarter.
"They do a good job of coming at you early and try to blow you out early," said Jazz forward
Sure, the Jazz were able to come back and make it a game, closing the gap to three points late, but spotting the Lakers a 20-point lead and letting them executive their offense so easily early in the game is no recipe to beat the Western Conference favorites. Just the fact that the Jazz were even able to come back from that kind of deficit should give them hope heading to Salt Lake City for Game 3 on Thursday, although they'll probably need more than just hope.
"That's Deron Williams being a bad boy," said
The Jazz were hoping that Okur, who has been out since April 13 with a strained right hamstring, would return for Game 2, but he sat out again and his availability for the rest of the series is in question. During the pregame shootaround Tuesday and practice Monday, he was unable to run, jump or move side to side. Okur said he could be a spot-up shooter if need be, which isn't exactly what the Jazz are seeking. They need his presence in the low post and to defend the Lakers' big front line.
Not only are the Jazz going back to Utah down 0-2, but they also have yet to show up in the opening half. Unless the Jazz figure out how to play a complete game, it's hard to see this series returning to Los Angeles for Game 5.
"We have that Utah air, we have great fans, we have a loud arena and that energizes us," forward