Before this series started it would have been sheer folly to expect the Jazz to win 4 games. I did think that the Jazz would win 1, or even 2, in the process of the eventual Lakers advancement. That seems to be a pretty optimistic when Okur is still on the shelf. Memo, as I’ve documented elsewhere, has had a pretty good season against the Lakers (getting more than 20/10 vs. a pretty good defense when you don’t even average 20/10 is impressive). That’s more is that Memo is really missed when it comes to his clutch shooting ability (like that deep three he hit over Gasol in the 4th quarter a few months ago) and floor spacing ability. Without ANY serious threats outside the Lakers can just dare the Jazz to shoot while clogging up the paint. The Lakers are facing a team that’s offensively challenged from the outside; while being long enough themselves to get back and defend the three point stripe if they need to. Really not having Memo around has hurt the Jazz more than anything else the Lakers have done so far on defense.
|You can’t replace this with Jarron Collins|
|<youtube.com video goes here> |
Sloan is now electing to start Kirilenko tonight, hopefully that means he’ll play more than 35 mins as well. A motivated Andrei is a pretty good one, it seems odd, but the more a team needs him the better he apparently is capable of playing. (Just take a look at the European championships in 2007 where it was him and some scrubs knocking off Spain in the finals, on Spain’s own home court . . . eat it Gasol, Calderon, Rudy, Ricky, Jorge, Gasol #2, that guy who used to play for the Grizzlies and has a good floater, and crew) The Jazz fans only have to look as far as last season when the Jazz knocked off the Lakers in SLC when the Lakers were healthy, and the Jazz were without Boozer and Okur. Andrei had a triple double in that game and almost a 5 x 5. I doubt that he has that in him for tonight, but he needs to play serious minutes and be effective in order for the Jazz to have a chance of defending their home court.
Deron and Booz have shown that they can’t get it done by themselves. That third man needs to step up in Memo’s absence. That guy should be Andrei, when you look at his pedigree as a top international player, former All-Defensive team member, former All-Star, MVP of Europe and well, his contract. Brewer is nice, Millsap is nice and Korver can be nice – but to beat the Lakers tonight without Memo it’s going to take something special from Andrei to get it done.
|<youtube is unavailable, so enjoy this german website’s attempt instead>|
BTW, there’s a LOT of swearing in this video, NSFW
Go Jazz Go!