Sunday , Apr , 19 , 2009 C.Y. Ellis

Lakers Silence Jazz in Game 1

Lakers Silence Jazz in Game 1The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Utah Jazz 113-100 in Game 1 of their First Round match-up at the 2009 NBA Playoffs. Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 24 points, 8 assists and 2 steals and Pau Gasol had 20 points, 9 boards and 4 blocks.

Kobe and Gasol were expected to dominate the Jazz as they have done in the past, but the surprise breakout performance belonged to Lakers forward Trevor Ariza, who scored 21 points on 8 for 10 shooting and conencted on all but one of three point attempts. Almost everyone expected Ariza to play more of a defensive stopper role, and I think his surprising offensive burst stunned the Jazz, who struggled offensively as a team.

The Jazz didn’s put much of a fight in the first half, as they were down 62-40 in halftime. Deron Williams did his best John Stockton impersonation with 17 assists for the game, but he struggled mightily on the floor (29% shooting from the field). Forwards Carlos Boozer & Paul Millsap were the only jazz players who had anything going for them, combining for 42 points.

While the Lakers did win in a convincing fashion, several members of the team did not have quality games. Andrew Bynum was limited to 20 minutes because of foul trouble and erstwhile bench sparkplug Jordan Farmar rode the pine most of the game. Farmar’s lack of minutes is an indication that Lakers coach Phil Jackson is preferring Shannon Brown to come off the bench and assume the role former Laker Devean George used to play off the Lakers bench.

Game 1’s usually dictate the series (winners of Game 1’s usually end up winning the series) and and if this game is any indicator for the Lakers-Jazz match-up, it’s going to be a short series with the Lakers coming out on top.

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