Basketbawful has a little TGIF for you. It comes disguised as a preview for tonight's Lakers-Jazz game. But I promise it'll make your mother love you again. If, well, you actually get off your sorry butt and buy her a card and some flowers. You've got two days. But read this first.
Utah versus L.A.: Game 3
Sweet home, Energy Solutions Arena. Say it with me, kids: The Utah Jazz were 37-4 at home this season (although only 2-1 in the playoffs). So obviously the Jazz are going to be relying on a little
home cookin' homecourt advantage in Game 3. Speaking of which...
Freethrows. The Lakers shot 89 in Games 1 and 2. The Jazz shot 46. I have a funny feeling that that ratio is going to flip-flop a bit.
Carlos Boozer. C'mon Booz...what's wrong? You've been slumping for, well, the entire playoffs and the last seven games or so of the regular season. Is everything okay at home? Actually, you know what? I don't care. Spank your inner moppet or whatever you need to do to get your head straight. Your team needs you.
The pick and roll. The Jazz live off it. The Lakers have stopped it. Dead. That's at least part of the reason Carlos is sucking so badly. He's not getting any easy baskets, and that's probably affecting his confidence when he's bombing from 15 feet.
General Obvious strikes again. Mr. Boozer can't hit a jump shot, but he can watch game film. "Right now they're packing the lane. That's what I would if I was their team right now. Pack the lane and make us hit jump shots. We have to knock them down." Well, he's right about two things: The Jazz need to hit their jumpers, and the Lakers are a bunch of packers.
Block party. The Lakers have blocked 17 shots in two games. That's, like, 8.5 blocks per game, which is a lot if you think about it. Although he wasn't available for comment, I'm sure Carlos would say that the Jazz need to focus on the basket and avoid the Lakers' meaty hands.
Grandpappy Obvious speaks. Jazz coach Jerry Sloan realizes that the Lakers will still play defense, even in Utah. "They're going to defend us. They're not going to drop off and say, 'OK, we're not going to defend you because we're not in L.A.'" Wow. Thanks for that, Jerry. I'm just...wow.
King Subtle speaks. Ah, Phil Jackson. He loves him some sly volleys, doesn't he? Earlier this week he offhandedly mentioned that the loud and boisterous nature of Utah's home crowd can intimidate officials, making them miss a foul here or there (or everywhere). He claimed to have "amnesia" when asked about that comment, but he did offer that "They're scrumming around. That's much more decisive on their court." True. Just like Kobe elbowing his way into the paint and Lamar Odom going over the back and Sasha Vujacic using two hands and a foot on defense is "much more decisive" at the Staples Center.
Deron Williams. He is the cheese to the Jazz's macaroni. And he needs to be extra cheesy tonight if Utah is going to get a win. Memo to Deron: You're being guarded by a 50-year-old man...take the ball to the hoop every time, okay?
Kobe Bryant. You've got your MVP, okay? Can you just, I don't know, go away now?
Andrei Kirilenko. If Jerry Sloan had a time machine, don't you think he'd use it to replace today's Kirilenko with the AK47 of, say, 2004? You bet your big, throbbing brain he would. And you know what? I'd do the same thing.
Lamar Odom. He is quietly killing the Jazz with his rebounding and his defense on Boozer. Nobody benefits more from the presence of Pau Gasol than Odom, who is obviously at his best as the third option. My solution: Kill Pau Gasol. It may be the only way. I keed, I keed. (But not really.)