Wednesday, May 14

Lakers-Jazz Game 5: Quarter 3

The Jazz waste no time in getting to the line and cutting the Lakers halftime lead to 61-56.

Both teams are hitting over fifty percent from the floor so it's no surprise that they're trading shots now, putting the score at 63-60 after another spectacular Deron Williams jumper.

Kobe forces his way to the rim to get the contact and a trip to the foul line, but he's not showing the explosiveness or flexibility that Lakers fans have come to take for granted. At the very least he's hitting his free throws which helps stop the bleeding and pushes his team's lead at 65-62.

Odom catches Kirielenko's head underneath his chin while defending the paint, which unfortunately comes on the back of a blocking foul. He heads to the bench to stop his bleeding (literally this time).

Deron Williams ties the game with a wide open three pointer from the right corner. No question that he's the MVP of his team. The MVP of the league, Kobe, has been quiet so far this half. As soon as I write that, he backs down D. Williams for an easy layup.

A defensive stop by the Lakers and a Kobe assist to Odom resets the Laker lead to 73-69 with five and a half minutes left in the third quarter.

The refs have swallowed their whistles this half as players on both teams have hit the deck without any calls. As a basketball fan I'm glad to see the action but as a Lakers fan I worry for Kobe's health.

Commercial critique: The NBA playoff split head commercial keeps showing faces, this time D. Fisher with D. Williams. It's simple, honest, and intense. I like it a great deal more than the affected enthusiasm of past playoff commercials.

The Inside Trax segment shows Jerry Sloan's halftime speech. Is there another coach in the league who looks and talks more like a college professor? And a dry, boring professor at that?

Kobe goes up hard for a dunk but misses off the back of the rim, instead drawing the foul shots. He misses both and more than anything else that tells me that his back is not fine. The fact that the score is tied at 73 points also defends that notion.

In an interview Kobe says that he enjoys the pressure of competing in the playoffs and compares it playing poker. With many players I'd call that false bravado. Not so with the Black Mamba.

Kobe hits one of two free throws to push their lead back to 76-73 which is immediately cut down by a dunk by Ronnie Brewer. Easy Jazz shots like those are what's giving me ulcers.

Just when I'm ready to write off Kobe as a shell of himself, he pulls of a floating, contorting layup for the potential three point play. Amazingly his 22 points have come on 6-9 shooting.

With a little over a minute left in the quarter the Jazz trail 81-77.

Farmar misses an open trey at the end of the quarter and the Lakers' offense has clearly stagnated. The fourth quarter will open up with the score tied at 81 but other then Kobe, no other Lakers has been hitting his shots. I'm very worried that Kobe's production has again come at the cost of his team's offensive flow.

At various times this game, Fisher, Kobe, Gasol, and Odom have played well and carried their team, but rarely have multiple players performed well at the same time. The Lakers will need to spread the ball around better if they want to pull out a victory today.

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