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NBA Playoffs, Lakers Jazz Game 3: The Jazz get everything they want, except the win

May 9, 2010, 12:51 AM EDT

Fisher_Korver.jpgWhat if?

Not just what if Deron Williams nailed the crossover 22-footer, a favorite move of his and a shot he has buried so many times before? Not what if Wesley Mathews tip chance off that shot had gone in?

But for the Utah Jazz, what if you do basically everything you want to do, and you still can’t win?

That’s why this Lakers 111-110 win has to hurt in Salt Lake City. Not just because the Lakers are now up an insurmountable 3-0 in the series. Okay, maybe that’s part of it. But it’s also because they have been so close, and because they did so much of what they wanted in game three.

Think about the Jazz checklist coming in to this game: Limit the Lakers inside. Make Ron Artest and Derek Fisher beat you, ideally with threes. Get off to a fast start at home. Pick up the pace. Have D-Will be more aggressive in transition and attacking Fisher off the dribble.

Check. Check. Check. Check. Check

And they still lost.

Just barely — this was one of the most dramatic games and finishes of the playoffs. There was a stretch of the game where Kyle Korver and Ron Artest were trading threes. There were big shots and answers. There was a key last minute turnover, and a chance for the Jazz to win.

What if? It’s just hard not to ask it.

There will be a game four Monday, there’s no more strategy for Jerry Sloan to employ. They did nearly everything they wanted to do. Still wasn’t enough.

“Tonight we went over getting the ball out of the post, we were trying to help on the post, make them beat us from the perimeter,” Williams said postgame in interviews shown on NBATV. “Fish hadn’t shot well, Artest hadn’t shot well in the series. So we felt like we could live with outside shots, but it kind of bit us in the butt a little bit.”

“I was so happy that Coach Sloan had that defensive strategy to play off me,” Artest said. “Got me going a little bit.”

Twittering Artest was hot from three — he had been 7 of 42 so far in the playoffs. But he hit his first three on his way to 4 of 7 from deep and 20 points. Derek Fisher was 3 of 7 from deep and had 20 points as well.

All that shooting was par It was one of the most fun, dramatic games in a postseason and the end was fantastic as the two teams combined for 20 points in just over the last two minutes.

The dramatic end started with 1:25 left and Williams blowing past Fisher, again, but then kicking out to the hottest shooter in the game, Korver. All nylon on the three. Again. He was 5-5 from three, 9-10 overall and had 23 points.

A couple possessions later, down three with 54 seconds left, the Lakers come down and at this point the triangle is forgotten in Lakers minds. It’s all Kobe setting up whatever it is he wants. Pau Gasol set a high pick and Kobe’s defender went under it, so he drained the three. Tie game. He had 35 points. Because he’s good. And feeling healthy.

D-Will comes down and just attacks Fisher again, then even with Gasol there he got to a good spot and hit a high-arcing 12-foot baseline jumper. Fisher answers with a three over Kover’s outstretched arm.

Lakers up one when Mathews passed up three looking hesitant but then got the ball back two seconds later and missed an open three. He had a rough ending to the game. The Jazz fouled Kobe and two made free throws later the Lakers were up three. The Lakers then foul Williams before he can shoot, two free throws that he makes, and we’re back to the Lakers by one with the ball.

Then on an inbounds play (on the Lakers end of the floor after a timeout) Artest threw the ball to where a cutting Fisher would be, but the rookie Mathews made a veteran play, wrapping his off arm around Fisher to slow him down, and the pass went bounding into Korver’s hands, and he called timeout to set up D-Will’s game winner. Or what might have been

Williams’ crossover was pure, he just missed it. Mathews — who was Kobe’s man but Kobe was watching the ball and not boxing out — timed it right for a great tip in. Both just rolled on the rim and out.

What if?

  1. jazzman - May 9, 2010 at 1:04 AM

    what a rivalry, It was a great game but those damn three’s would not stop falling. Ak played very well for the Jazz, and so did fisher the rest of the top 7 lakers. Jackson was smart enough to not installed entire bench, lucky for him. Good game Lakers but can you do it four times in a row I bet you can’t or won’t, it would be better for you to win at home, so I see the lakers laying one down on Monday, More money. Both Fan groups were very extreme tonight, Koudo’s to both. That was a great basketball game, too bad they are not all like that. see you Monday.

  2. Kobe - May 9, 2010 at 2:36 AM

    Do you think Charles Barkley will still be saying that Kobe has lost it?

  3. doy - May 9, 2010 at 3:07 AM

    kobe is kobe and lakers are lakers

  4. LakersFan - May 9, 2010 at 3:30 AM

    Kurt, a month ago you and everyone else were writing off the Lakers and specifically, Kobe. Yea man, boy Kobe sure looks old and done. He’s averaging 32 points per game in this series.
    In case you can’t figure it out, Kobe — who is 31 — will be playing the Suns next. Guess how old their point guard, Nash, is? And how old is Grant Hill again?
    Also, keep gnawing LeBron’s balls … the Magic will pummel the Cavs in 6 games.

  5. Seely_Iggy - May 9, 2010 at 4:07 AM

    Boy, that was a fun game to watch. I’ve always loved it when our Lakers play the Utah Jazz. Utah is a very good team and physical too and I have the utmost respect for them. Every year when Jazz and Lakers meet in the playoffs, it’s my favorite series, not to mention the adjustments made by two outstanding coaches, Jackson versus Sloan. Great game, Jazz, but I’m not sorry to see you lose. However, as they say, it ain’t over till the fat lady (Charles Barkley) sings, so here’s to another great game coming up!

  6. Dave - May 9, 2010 at 8:03 AM

    Poor Jazz, having to play the Lakers and the cheating refs.

  7. DMC - May 9, 2010 at 9:13 AM

    Poor Dave…he needs a waaaaambulance. Would you like some cheese with that whine?
    You’re right, of course – the refs do tend to interfere in the games. For instance, when Gasol gets smacked in the face and they ignore it, or when Mathews makes that “veteran” play by throwing Fish to the floor (oh, that’s right, he fell) and they don’t bother with a whistle. I’m sure there have been blown calls, but the “foulingest” team in the NBA seems to be having a lot less whistles against them in this series…yet the Lake Show rolls on.
    But thanks for pointing out the refs proclivity to assist whoever the Lakers are playing. Now, fine me $25k, Stern.

  8. davidly - May 9, 2010 at 10:56 AM

    “Fish is too old and slow,” they observed. “Artest is too unstable!” they cried. “Kobe has too much mileage on his relatively young legs and is suffering from injuries he can’t overcome,” they gloated.
    It may not be over, but it looks to this observer like they’re gonna sweep their way into the finals, where the real test will begin.

  9. Lakers Wont Repeat - May 9, 2010 at 11:48 AM

    Lakers will lose to either the Magic or Cavs in 6 that much is for sure.

  10. IndieVote - May 9, 2010 at 11:48 AM

    Hey Dave, isn’t it funny how the refs never favor the team you’re rooting for? They always seem to favor the other guys? Think that could be a perception problem on your part?
    The refs gave the Jazz (gave, as in here’s a gift) extra chances to win that game at the end and they still couldn’t capitalize. Don’t blame anyone but the Jazz for losing that game.
    Or, you could just give the Lakers credit for sinking the dagger. But don’t whine about the officiating.

  11. BIGBRUCE11047 - May 9, 2010 at 12:45 PM

    I have been a Laker fan since the mid-1970s. This team seems to step up when it is needed. They played the Thunder well enough to win in 6 games and now the Lakers have stepped it up and now lead the Jazz 3-0. I think the Lakers will sweep the Jazz on Monday and then get ready for Western Division Finals. I’m sure they will step it up again. Go Lakers!!

  12. It will not be a Sweep! - May 9, 2010 at 1:45 PM

    Lakers always ‘step up’ or ‘step down’, so I don’t see it a sweep. and one of the guys said above, it is a business/hollywood.

  13. Chownoir - May 9, 2010 at 3:58 PM

    Hey Dave,
    Want to explain how the refs were cheating with these kinds of FT stats?
    Utah 26-31
    LA 16-19
    Utah made more FT’s than LA attempted. How are the refs cheating again?

  14. Chownoir - May 9, 2010 at 4:06 PM

    Hey Dave,
    Want to explain how the refs were cheating with these kinds of FT stats?
    Utah 26-31
    LA 16-19
    Utah made more FT’s than LA attempted. How are the refs cheating again?

  15. glock - May 9, 2010 at 5:21 PM

    This sounds like a typical laker fan. Yes Kobe is good, but Lebron is better. If Lebron was on the Lakers instead of Kobe, the Lakers would have gone 82-0. And for the next serious against the Suns…well the Lakers will need so help from the refs. Phoenix is going to be attacking the rim at will and the Lakers won’t be able to stop them. When they aren’t attacking the rim, they will be draining outside shots.
    It is a bummer for the Jazz to play the lakers. I feel that David Stern is a Laker fan, and thats not a bad person to have on your side. Lakers get a lot of favourable calls. That and the fact they are a very talented team, makes them hard to beat.

  16. Santa Cruz - May 9, 2010 at 9:31 PM

    As long as the Jazz have Boozer on board they don’t have a chance to win more that 1 game in a series with the Lakers.
    To bad the big man for the Jazz got injured, but that’s the game.
    The Lakers are starting to hit on all cylinders right now.
    The Jazz thought they could stop the Lakers by jammin up the paint.
    They tried it and the Lakers hit the 3’s.
    So, what now?
    Do the Jazz go back to defending the 3 and not double the Laker Big’s? Or, do they try the same thing for game 4 and leave the outside shot open?
    The Lakers have answered the Jazz so far.

  17. jonnymac - May 9, 2010 at 10:55 PM

    great game…they just couldn’t tap it in like Gasol did in the series before…..their fault entirely as when Artest and Fish started unloading they should have adjusted the defense…..oh and to all those Lebron lovers out there who still think like the idiotic press and announcers that kobe is washed up….let Lebron win 1, 2, 3, 4 rings and also score 81 points in a game…THEN we can talk about who’s the best.

  18. jazzman - May 9, 2010 at 11:57 PM

    Hey Laker Fans just for the record who is more fun to watch in a series. The Jazz and the Lakers you have to admit, the rivalry is just to good and competitive.
    GO Western Conferance!!!!

  19. luffy - May 10, 2010 at 12:44 AM

    Hey glock, this article isn’t about Lebron and Kobe, stop talking nonsense sh#*. Cavs might not be able to beat the Celtics and they still have Orlando IF they get past the Celts so shut it til they get to the finals…
    Phoenix my A$$, No team in the west could match the Bynum-Gasol-Artest combo w/Kobe and Fish, then you have Odom in the bench. stop hatin and just accept the fact that the Lakers still have it dude…

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