NBA Playoff Preview: Lakers v. Jazz



WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM GAME 1? Absolutely nothing. I didn’t see a minute of it. Although I suppose I “learned” that Deron Williams had no injury issues from the Denver series. So there’s that.

WE’VE SEEN THIS MATCHUP BEFORE: Yep. Third year in a row between the Lakers and Jazz, with LA winning in six in the second round in ’08 and in five in the first round in ’09.

SO LAKERS IN FOUR IN ’10? Not quite. I expect this to be every bit as close a series as the other Western Conference Semi and every bit as intense as LA’s first-rounder with Oklahoma City (which I nailed, by the way). This was probably as good a Jazz team as we’ve seen over the last four playoff seasons—before the injuries to Andrei Kirilenko and Mehmet Okur. If Kirilenko comes back during this series—as he hopes to do for Game 3—I can definitely see the Jazz making life difficult on the Lakers.

EVEN WITH RONNIE PRICE, C.J. MILES, AND WESLEY MATTHEWS GETTING SIGNIFICANT TIME IN THE BACKCOURT? I often get Price and Miles confused—is that Ronnie Miles or C.J. Price out there?—but Matthews was a solid player at Marquette. Of course, the important thing is who they’re in the backcourt with: Deron Williams.

YEAH, WAY TO HOP ON THE D-WILL BANDWAGON LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE: I was totally on it before them! I wrote that whole American Point Guard Renaissance because of him and Chris Paul! I never thought Utah made a mistake by drafting Williams over Paul! Everyone just now coming to terms with the fact that Deron Williams is really good obviously didn’t pay attention during that 2005 Illinois season. He was the guy that set the tone for that team, and the one who hit the big shots when they needed them.

YOU STILL SAID PAUL HAS A HIGHER CEILING: Historically, he does, because I can’t see Williams winning an MVP the way Paul can (and almost did two seasons ago). Although who knows? Maybe Williams starts averaging 28 and 12 for an entire season.

CAN THE LAKERS HANDLE HIM? I’m looking forward to Artest on Williams. People have killed LA for signing Artest and letting Trevor Ariza go, and I think we can agree it was, at best, a poor financial decision. But when you look at what Ron did to Kevin Durant, and what he’s capable of doing to Williams, you ask yourself whether Ariza could be as effective defensively on players that diverse.

I DON’T KNOW. TREVOR ARIZA WAS A PRETTY GOOD DEFENSIVE PLAYER: True. I’m not positive Artest is that much better, but I’m pretty sure he’s a little better.

BUY IN ON KOBE YET? I was kidding last time! I bought in a while ago! I don’t like him, but I’ve resigned myself to the fact that he’s really, really good.

BUT? But I don’t know why he was taking so many shots in the fourth quarter of Game 3 in OKC, when everyone else on the Lakers was making their shots, and Kobe wasn’t making his. It’s things like this that make me think the Lakers aren’t going to repeat.

THE LAKERS AREN’T GOING TO REPEAT??? I don’t think so, although I don’t know if the reason for it is that the Lakers are worse than last year or that their potential opponents throughout the playoffs are better. The Thunder were better than last year’s Jazz, this year’s Jazz better than last year’s Rockets, this year’s Suns/Spurs probably better than last year’s Nuggets, this year’s Cavs/Magic probably better than last year’s Magic.

WHEN DOES THAT REPEAT BID END? Not this round. I think the series goes similarly to the Thunder series: Lakers win two in LA, Jazz take two at home, Lakers take next two, including a close Game 6. If the Jazz were fully healthy, I probably pick them to win this series. But they’re not, so Lakers in 6.

One response to this post.

  1. […] YOU SAID YOU DIDN’T THINK THE LAKERS WOULD REPEAT: That’s not exactly being “all over that Phoenix bandwagon.” To be fair, I was considering […]


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