Lakers Take 3-2 Series Lead with Win over Jazz
The Los Angeles Lakers are one win away from going to the Western Conference Finals after beating the Utah Jazz in Game 5, 111-104.
Kobe Bryant did score the most points for the Lakers but four other Lakers took more shots than him. Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Sasha Vujacic, and Vladimir Radmanovic all took more than Kobe’s ten field goal attempts. Kobe did make 13 out of 17 free throws to lead all players in the game.
What the Lakers did right for Game 5 departed from their two losses in Game 3 and Game 4. First, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom carried most of the offensive load when the Jazz defenders focused on Bryant and they did it with much success. Second, Vladimir Radmanovic decided to show up, hitting three 3-pointers and helping the Lakers have better spacing in the floor.
While the Lakers did take the win, there were still some issued they have to contend with in order to close the series in Game 6 in Salt Lake City. The most crucial is still the disappearance of the "Bench Mob," the Lakers’ second unit. Jordan Farmar, Luke Walton, Ronnie Turiaf and Vujacic have played very poorly in this series. Among the four, they contributed 13 points, 6 rebounds, zero assists and 3 of 17 shooting. Another issue is the over-reliance on the jum shots. Recall what went right in Game 1– good looks from crisp passing and good execution.
The Lakers also have to stop the Utah Jazz. Deron Williams is the new point guard to terrorize the Lakers in the playoffs, following the footsteps of Allen Iverson, Mike Bibby and Tony Parker. It also seems the Utah Jazz are wearing the Lakers from their physical play and firm screens from pick and rolls.
A Laker win in Game 6 would mean a step closer to the NBA’s Dream Final– The Los Angeles Lakers versus the Boston Celtics.