Second-Round Showdown: Game 2

MAY 4| TUES |ROUND 2, GAME 2| (5) Jazz vs. (1) Lakers : LAL lead 1-0

Kobe Bryant showed why he is still the NBA’s best finisher in Sunday’s win against the Utah Jazz.

But the Lakers are looking for a more consistent effort to take a 2-0 lead in the series.

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L.A. looked like they were in cruise control for much of the game, pulling to a 14-point lead in the 1st quarter.

But Utah stayed the course. They took advantage of Kobe’s foul induced absence to cut the deficit and even take the lead late in the fourth quarter, 93-89 with 4 minutes left in the game.

As Bryant returned, the Mamba’s late-game heroics were in effect.

Kobe scored 11 of the Lakers’ 15 points to win 104-99. He finished with a game high 31 points.

Deron Williams tried to keep the game in reach for Utah with 24 points. but was only 2-7 in the second half.

The Lakers were great defensively. Forced some very tough shots for the Jazz, despite a few of them falling in.

The bench unfortunately couldn’t produce to amount of energy the starters for L.A. intiated. And gave up the 11-point lead in the fourth.

KEYS FOR THE GAME:

Stopping Williams

Deron Williams has frankly been considered the best point guard in the league right now. He’s too fast for Derek Fisher to take head on. The Lakers may put Bryant on him if needed.

Twin Tower Dominance

Even if Bynum isn’t at full strength, his length will be too much for the Jazz to handle. Pau Gasol will also be able to match with Carlos Boozer, whom he’s had past success against on both offense and defense.

Home Cooking

L.A. has had home-court advantage against the Jazz in most of their postseason matchups. The Lakers have been successful at home and will look to continue the trend tonight and go up 2-0.

Spreading the Wealth

The Lakers weren’t that efficient as a whole. The clutch players for L.A. provided the spark.

Lamar Odom & Co.

Odom and the bench don’t need to score a ton of points to be productive. But that can go a long way with the Jazz reserve unit holding Paul Milsap, Kyle Korver, and Ronnie PriceWith the scoring potential they possess, the Lakers’ bench will have to be attentive on both ends of the floor.

Limiting D-Will-Boozer Connection.

Williams thrives off getting guys in transition and creating shots for his teammates. L.A. will have to keep their attention on who is prefering to. In many cases, the duo of him and Boozer will be the default. Gasol and Odom usually do a good job defensively on Boozer, so its to be expected that they’ll continue this.

PROJECTED STARTERS:

LAKERS:
(C) A. Bynum
(PF) P. Gasol
(SF) R. Artest
(SG) K. Bryant
(PG) D. Fisher

X-Factor: Lamar Odom and bench play. Frontcourt.

JAZZ:
(C) K. Fesenko
(PF) C. Boozer
(SF) C. Miles
(SG) W. Matthews
(PG) D. Williams

X-Factor: Paul Milsap & Wesley Matthews.
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