Pre-Game Report: Lakers vs. Jazz

Starting Lineups

Derek Fisher – Deron Williams

Kobe Bryant – Raja Bell

Ron Artest – Andrei Kirilenko

Pau Gasol – Paul Millsap

Andrew Bynum – Al Jefferson

The Utah Jazz dropped their last 4 road games, losing to three teams with records under .500 (Wizards, Nets, and 76ers). The Jazz picked up a win in their last meeting against the Lakers when they played in Salt Lake City. topping L.A. Deron Williams had a magnificent game, pouring in 29 points with 12 assists  against the Lakers. His team rallied late in the fourth quarter after the Lakers had built up a 19 point lead earlier in the game.

In recent news, Jerry West stated the Lakers’ defense has slowed down due to old age. However, Deron Williams doesn’t see it that way. Williams is right, the Lakers will always be ready and confident around playoff time.

The Jazz are second in the lead with assists per game, behind only the Boston Celtics. In the last meeting between the two teams Utah dished out 10 more assists in the game than the Lakers. That was the biggest deficit the Lakers had on the stat sheet against the Jazz that night. Jerry Sloan has Williams move the ball well, which results in easy buckets for Jefferson, Millsap, and Bell. Utah’s bench has been inconsistent, but players like Ronnie Price and C.J. Miles can spark up runs for the Jazz.

The Lakers simply showed dominance against the Denver Nuggets in their last game on Friday night. Los Angeles shot 53% from the field and out-rebounded the Nuggets 47 to 27.

Keys to Lakers victory:

Stop Deron Williams – D-Fish saw plenty of him in the playoffs and will see plenty of Williams in the next few seasons. Deron is much faster than Fisher and will burn him once Williams takes that first strong step towards the hoop. Not saying Derek can’t keep up all night, but he will have a tough time staying in front of the All-Star point guard. Phil Jackson will probably try out different looks on defense, throwing in Shannon Brown or Steve Blake to guard Williams.

Take advantage of the post-game – Millsap and Jefferson’s post-up defense needs a bit of work. Gasol and Bynum are quicker than both Jazz big men and can plant their offense near the rim faster.

The Jazz bench loves the three ball – Watch out for Miles and Hayward as they can light it up from behind the arc and cut or build a huge lead quick.

You May Also Like

Sports World Gears Up for Bulls-Heat Series

Jonathan Abrams: New York Times: “Regardless, of how the Heat and the…

Top 5 Lakers Playoff Subplots

Just prior to the Lakers match-up against the Utah Jazz, the team…

A Look Ahead: The Lakers Finally Head to the Alamo

With nine games left in the regular season, the Lakers look to…

Should Lakers Try To Sign A Point Guard This Summer?

It is common knowledge that the Lakers must fill holes at center and small forward before the start of next season. Kobe Bryant played the wing last year but is now retired, leaving only Anthony Brown and maybe Metta World Peace to take his place…