Lakers Eliminate Jazz in 5 Games
After three quarters, the Los Angeles Lakers looked like they were going to waltz in to the second round of the 2009 NBA Playoffs.
But the Lakers hung tough and managed to eliminate the pesky Utah Jazz in Game 5 of their first round match-up, 107-96.
The Lakers were dominating for most of the game, but as if wanting more excitement in the game, the Lakers gave the Jazz an opening in the fourth quarter and saw their 19-point lead trimmed to six with three minutes to go. The Lakers closed the game out by outscoring the Jazz 12-7 in closing minutes of the game.
Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 31 points, but I think was Lamar Odom who played a more efficient and effective game, with 26 points and 15 rebounds. Pau Gasol had another double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Trevor Ariza had another strong home game, with 12 points and 50% shooting from downtown.
While the Lakers did win the series, I observed that they still have yet to show the "killer instinct" that basketball pundits wanted to see from them from the start. The Lakers lost leads and did not play consistent defense in the five games of the series. It did expose that the Jazz still have a lot of work to do to improve, but I think the Lakers did not get a test of "nastiness." On the plus side, the Lakers showed that they can dictate the pace of the game and dominate the game with offense. Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, and Lamar Odom proved to be the Lakers’ core in the post season, with Trevor Ariza and Shannon Brown giving good support.
The Lakers are now awaiting the winner of the Houston Rockets-Portland Trailblazers series, with the Rockets leading 3-1 as of this writing.
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