Well round one has been in the books for about a week and round two is just about to begin so here is a quick breakdown of the first round series as well as my prediction for round two matchup.
Game by game breakdown of round 1:
Game 1- Game one was a tale of two halves. The first half was spectacular in which we saw the Lakers manhandle the Jazz to a tune of 62 points and a 22 point lead. In the second half the Lakers pretty much put the game on cruise control allowing the Jazz to keep the game within reach for much of the half. However they never got it closer then 9 points on a couple of occasions as the Lakers finished off the Jazz 113-100. The player of the game had to be Trevor Ariza as he had a monster 21 point outing. Pau Gasol chipped in with 20 and Kobe Bryant with 24. Lamar Odom came up with a nice effort of the bench with a 13 point and 8 rebound effort.
Game 2- Game two saw a spectacular first quarter for the Lakers as they ran up 41 points and held the lead much of the game. The Jazz made a push and had a chance to maybe win towards the end. However a big three by Trevor Ariza in the closing minutes all but put the game to bed. This game featured a spectacular game by Kobe Bryant with 26 points and 9 assists. He got major help from Pau Gasol with 22 points and Lamar Odom with 19 points. Trevor Ariza had another solid game hitting the back breaking 3 and also coming up with 9 assists. The Lakers control the boards better coming up with an even tie with the Jazz for the game.
Game 3- Game three saw a back and forth battle in which the Lakers had a big lead late in the third quarter however the Jazz where able to continue to chip away coming all the way back and making for a heart pounding ending. Derron Williams hit a fadeaway jumper to ultimately put the Jazz ahead with just 2.2 seconds left. The Lakers struggled to get anyone open on the last play eventually Kobe broke free and took a desperation three and missed it. The Lakers did not play their best in this game by any means. Kobe Bryant shot a terrible 5 of 24 with only 18 points. Lamar Odom had a big night with 21 points. They got dominated on the boards as well as Andrew Bynum had virtually no prescene so far in the series. Phil began to cut into his minutes. Despite all of that they still only lost by 2.
Game 4- Game four was a total rebound for the Lakers that was much needed. The Lakers played perhaps the best game of the series as they will able to use big second and third quarters to dominate the Jazz on their home court. Kobe Bryant put in an amazing performance scoring 38 points and leading the inspired Lakers to a 3-1 lead. Lamar Odom puts in another excellent night with a 10 point and 15 rebound night. The Lakers dominate the Jazz to a tune of a 108-94 win.
Game 5- Game five saw a Lakers team that looked ready to dispose of the Jazz and not allow this series to be extended any further. After a very even first quarter the Lakers exploded with a big second quarter giving themselves a nice 13 point lead at the half. In the second half they appeared to put the game away with a solid third quarter however in typical fashion this year they allowed the Jazz to cut into the lead. It was down to a two possession game defcit with under two minutes to go. However the Lakers where able to do just enough to put the Jazz away once and for all. Kobe Bryant led the way with 31 points. While Lamar Odom had a monster night with 26 points and 15 rebounds.
Player of the series: Hard not to go with Lamar Odom here he was pretty much a key contributor in every game and had some monster nights in the series.
1. Lakers make it look easy- The Lakers overall made this series look pretty easy and yet I feel they have not played their best ball yet not even close.
2. Lamar Odom- Had an amazing series if he can keep this up this team will not lose.
3. Kobe Bryant- Kobe was big when he had to be as always.
Negatives or areas of improvement
1. Hustle- I felt like the Lakers got outhustled sometimes. I just feel like sometimes especially when they get leads this team gets bored and relaxes too much. I think this will correct itself as they get closer and closer to the finals and the hunger just builds even more. However I think this is clearly an area they can work on.
2. Rebounding- I think hustle and rebounding go hand in hand. The Lakers with a front court of Bynum, Gasol, and Odom should be outrebounding pretty much any opponent every night or at least be close. I feel the Lakers have to improve here and they especially need more from Bynum.
3. Andrew Bynum- He was pretty much nowhere to be found in this series. As Phil even drastically cut his minutes in most of the games. He will need to step it up big time in the next series, because we will need him against Yao Ming.
Overall the Lakers took care business in five games like I thought they would. They got a nice week of rest which is perfect in my mind and we should see an even more focused group in the next series. Now let's take a look at that next series which will be against the Houston Rockets.
Preveiw of Round 2:
Lakers v Houston
Analysis: I like this draw the Lakers did not have much problems with Houston this year if any as they swept them in four games. I think the Lakers match up really well with the Houston as Yao is their big threat inside and we certainly have many capable bigs to throw at him. Houston is not known for their offense and if the Lakers can push the ball in transition game after game they should be able to have their way with Houston. Houston is playing some really good ball right now though and they certainly have the ability to make this interesting. The key for Houston will likely be the play of Artest and Yao they are both going to have to carry the load big time and come up with big nights if they are going to beat the Lakers. Overall though I think the Lakers will polish of Houston with relative ease. I suspect we will see a return of Andrew Bynum and he will contribute nicely especially on the defensive end with containing Yao Ming.
Prediction: Lakers win in 5 games sweeping all three games at home and winning one of two in Houston. The game the Lakers lose will be an awfully close one and if the Lakers truly play to their potential every game they could sweep this series.
Music To The Lakers Ears: R1 Analysis R2 Preview
Posted on: May 4, 2009 10:44 pm