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NBA Playoffs, Lakers Jazz Game 4: Utah, now all hope is lost. Officially.

May 11, 2010, 2:41 AM EDT

Kobe_layup.jpgIt’s a simple but true basketball axiom — good tall will beat good small.

The Jazz are good, they played hard and execute their offense well, but the Lakers were just a taller, longer team. A better team.

In the first two games of the series Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom punished the Jazz inside for wins. Game three the Jazz doubled the post hard to take the ball out of the Lakers bigs hands.

It worked. Well, except for the fact the ball went more into Kobe Bryant’s hands and the Jazz had nobody who could guard him.

Monday night it was a combination of the two. The Lakers were too big early on (and  the TNT announcing crew beating that fact into the ground during the Game 4 broadcast like they were getting paid a bonus for every time they used the word “length” doesn’t make it any less true). Then later Kobe got his.

Gasol had 33 points and 14 rebounds, Kobe added 32 — he scored at least 30 in every game this series — and while the Jazz battled like they always do the Lakers won Game 4 111-96. Los Angeles swept the series 4-0, first time ever Utah has been swept in a seven game series.

This game was not quite like the others, but that was because of the Jazz.

In Monday’s Salt Lake Tribune the sports section banner headline was, “All Hope Is Lost.” Jazz players ribbed the Tribune’s Jazz beat reporter about that before the game — then they went out and played like it was true. The team that fought through every pick in game three was going under them and letting Kobe Bryant have room. The Jazz were not bringing hard, aggressive double teams to the ball when Bynum or Gasol got it in deep, and the result was Gasol getting going early and having 17 first half points.

“Once we got down a little bit, it was deja vu,” Deron Williams said in a postgame interview broadcast on NBATV.

The three close losses before — by 14 points total — had taken the hope out of the Jazz. The Lakers looked like they were going to run away with this one, up 20 at one point and 17 at half.

But the Jazz do not to just roll over. They came out on a little run to start the third quarter and cut the Lakers lead to single digits, doing it by getting some turnovers and points in transition. Williams led the charge, scoring 21, a number the hustling Paul Millsap matched. Los Angeles got away from what they wanted to do — Kobe kept trying to hit daggers while Gasol didn’t get to touch the ball. And suddenly Utah was on a run.

But the Lakers steadied and for much of the second half the lead fluctuated in the 8 to 12 range. The Jazz just couldn’t close the gap.

Basically because the Lakers were taller. And couldn’t cover Kobe.The basic themes of this series playing out again.

Now it is back to Los Angeles for Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals next Monday. It’s the Lakers and the Phoenix Suns — two good teams.

But a matchup where the Lakers are taller. Again.

  1. Cam - May 11, 2010 at 4:07 AM


  2. Foul Dwimmerlaik - May 11, 2010 at 4:51 AM

    Props to the Jazz for that one big fight. They didn’t rollover. They fought big time… it’s just that the Lakers were really THAT good. Finally, the Lakers team that I admire so much showed up. Then again always expect that when playing great teams like OKC and Utah, you gotta give them respect or else they get to attack you real good and you won’t even know what hit you. Thanks Jazz for a great series for us. You made our team bleed and make them deserve the series win.

  3. Dave - May 11, 2010 at 8:17 AM

    It doesnt matter how tall the lakers are. The league will cheat to get their lebron and kobe matchup. Corrupt WWE style refs ftw!

  4. ocgunslinger - May 11, 2010 at 9:32 AM

    You sir are an idiot. Keep your mouth shut or show your ignorance to the world.

  5. me - May 11, 2010 at 9:38 AM

    Looks like MR. Stern should be ashamed of himself for allowing the refs to cheat and gamble. after game 4 we all know 100% that it was rigged. you sit on your high rise and collect all the money just to let Kobe pay off the refs. you let a woman rapist continue to play when he should have been behind bars. All I can say, is that i commend you all showing our youth that “NBA CARES”. I mean no disrespect but NBA CHEATS. MR STERN, You should step down. you are a very wicked man. you are no better then the rapist and the refs that rig and gamble on the games since you do nothing about it. how proud you must feel to know that you are teaching our children that its ok to cheat. I cant wait till you stand before our LORD AND MAKER. Money wont help you then, nor will it help the rapist!!!

  6. farandaday - May 11, 2010 at 9:57 AM

    Me, since you mentioned “The Lord”, On that same note, He also says “judge not lest ye be judged….Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest; for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest DOES THE SAME THINGS!!!”

  7. Larry - May 11, 2010 at 11:22 AM

    you probably should read the late HOF referee Earl Strom’s book, “Five Decades in the NBA” written in 1992. He discloses many behind the scene things that have gone on in the league. You may change your mind about the league and its “honest” commish and his referees.
    When it hit the stand the league bought up as many copies as it could. You can still get used copies on E-Bay or Amazon most likely.
    Stern is a joke. While being interviewed by Bob Costas a few years before the Donaghy scandal, he was trying to be straight faced telling Costas that with the sophisticated referee surveillance program the NBA has, games couldn’t be fixed despite some feeling games were being inconsistently officiated. Donaghy and maybe others would stil be doing it had the FBI not stumbled onto Donaghy working another case. This went on for three years. The league had no clue.
    Someone needs to tell me how 3 NBA officials, convicted felons of tax evasion in 2000 can still be working in the league. Ken Mauer who spent 5 months in jail, Bennett Salavatore and Joey Crawford who plead guilty to tax evasion to stay out of jail can be still working.
    Actually how Stern rehired the 8 officials who were convicted felons back at the time makes the integrity of the league very suspect until there is a new commissioner of true integrity. Someone like Jerry West or David Robinson, for example.
    Also someone explain to me how the PHX Suns shot 64 FT (yep 64) in game 7, 1993 of the W. Conference Final to beat Seattle. That allowed Superstar Jordan to go against MVP Barkley…… TV Ratings……..TV ratings.

  8. jazzman - May 11, 2010 at 11:30 AM

    Ok Ok now listen, Me, Its only basketball. Now support the Western conferance, Like I said yesterday, you can not denie talent, both teams have a lot ( lakers and the Jazz ). Gausol was too much for Booze ( bless his heart ) under the Basket. There is a group out there that is petitioning the Jazz ORganization to spend the Money for Stoudamire, Jump on the Wagon ME it is the only way to beat the Lakers at there own game. THe Jazz only need another well rounded Big Man to complete the talented group to Dominate the Leaque.
    GO Western Conferance!!!
    GReat game Lakers, Now represent the Western Conferance

  9. Omnius - May 11, 2010 at 11:58 AM

    The Lakers turned that mythical switch and presto magic they’re once again the World Champion Lakers. I got a real laugh from the pinhead pundits that said the Lakers couldn’t just flip a switch and become world beaters again. As always the pinhead pundits were wrong about Kobe and the Lakers. Now to turn out the lights in Phoenix and get ready to whip up on the pretender from the wimpy Eastern Conference.

  10. behrfacts - May 11, 2010 at 12:51 PM

    The absence of Mehmet Okur was noticeable. The only way a small team can beat a big team is if they can pull the big guys away from the basket.
    Boozer shot awful, and nobody needed to guard him beyond 15 ft. Okur would have pulled Gausol out to the 3 point line opening up the middle for lots of smaller Jazz players.
    The Jazz must have another big man if they’re ever going to challenge the current Laker lineup.

  11. Mark - May 11, 2010 at 1:03 PM

    Everytime I see someone pull this quote, “judge not lest ye be judged…” I cringe.
    First of all, Christ wasn’t telling us not to judge, in general, per se. He was telling us not to judge the state one’s soul – whether they would go to heaven or hell, essentially. Secondly, we make judgements all day long, every single day. We must do so to make choices and distinctions in various matters.

  12. Jimmy - May 11, 2010 at 1:10 PM

    I’m pretty sure he was judging souls. Did you read what he said?
    “I cant wait till you stand before our LORD AND MAKER. Money wont help you then, nor will it help the rapist!!!”
    Anyways, isn’t this a sports article???
    Larry, I think your tin foil hat might be on too tight. If ratings and big match-ups are such a big deal, why haven’t Kobe and LeBron played in the finals yet? Were the Magic a bigger ratings draw? How about Spurs vs Pistons a few years back. I’m sure the NBA raked in advertising dough on that one.
    Sure, there may be a few corrupt people in the league, but guess what? Nothing is perfect!

  13. David - May 11, 2010 at 1:44 PM

    If Christ’s remark was referring to the actual judging of souls, why would he have made it, since it is impossible for a human to judge another’s soul? Clearly he was making the comment in reference to one’s behaviour and attitudes toward others, as demonstrated by his eating with prostitutes and tax collectors.
    An agnostic who believes Christ was a great man

  14. David - May 11, 2010 at 1:49 PM

    If Christ’s remark was referring to the actual judging of souls, why would he have made it, since it is impossible for a human to judge another’s soul? Clearly he was making the comment in reference to one’s behaviour and attitudes toward others, as demonstrated by his eating with prostitutes and tax collectors.
    An agnostic who believes Christ was a great man

  15. Anonymous - May 11, 2010 at 1:58 PM

    He’s still not judging souls, in my opinion. He’s only stating his feelings and opinion on the matter. He thinks he sees an injustice and can’t wait for his Judgement by the Lord. Just because he “thinks” there’s an injustice occuring, [he himself] is not condemming anyone. He may be disappointed in the Judgement made, in fact – which he’ll never be privy to I suspect.
    Nevertheless, it does not mean he is judging his soul. He is basing his opinion on circumstancial evidence anyway. Which is weak indeed, I must admit.
    I’ll leave it at that. Now lets get back to basketball. :-)

  16. Mark - May 11, 2010 at 2:04 PM

    Oops, I didn’t mean to post anonymously above (#15)

  17. [a] proxy - May 11, 2010 at 2:05 PM

    Haters are going to hate. Players are going to play.

  18. [a] proxy - May 11, 2010 at 2:07 PM

    Haters are going to hate. Player are going to play.

  19. jonnymac - May 11, 2010 at 2:12 PM

    wow! there are plenty of nuts on the internet these days!….at any rate…it was a good game..the refs were letting them play…there were several fouls that Odom and Gasol didn’t get either. You didntt see them give up like babies! When Utah saw they weren’t getting foul calls they should’ve manned up like most NBA teams do in that situation and kept playing instead of throwing their hands up and whining with over-exaggerated faces to the continuously booing crowd. And what was up with the FISHER LIED t-shirts?….did some rich big-love sugar-daddy pay those tramps to sit there and wear that sh*t?…also someone else had an extremely derogatory Kobe caricature poster they were holding up during the free throws as well. There’s an article today in about “good tall” beating “good small” in reference to the Lakers length. After the conduct of the crowd and some players in Utah last night, the article should have been professionalism and endurance, beats hooliganism and whining….I’m glad Fisher, his daughter and his family left those losers.

  20. mark - May 11, 2010 at 2:20 PM

    Hi David,
    That was Christ point, it is impossible for us to judge another soul! Or what is in one’s heart. We often forget this unwittingly. The old adage “hate the sin, not the sinner” comes to mind. Christ was calling us to conversion – to turn away from sin. He wasn’t hanging out with sinners to be their buddies – he was calling them to account and conversion. Like he said to the woman accussed of adultry, he told her to sin no more.

  21. mark - May 11, 2010 at 2:47 PM

    I don’t know about that… Orlando has been playing outstanding basketball for the past couple of months. If they continue, they have a chance to beat Cleveland or Boston if they somehow win out. The Lakers may not make it past Phoenix, but I suspect they will. Good Luck, however.

  22. [a] proxy - May 11, 2010 at 3:15 PM

    Orlando!?!? Who has Orlando played!?!? OMG, Orland swept Charlotte and Atlanta! Wow, that’s amazing! Give me a bread dude. That’s why Orlando looks good, but their competition in the first two rounds have been weak teams. I don’t care if it’s Orlando, Boston, or Cleveland, the Lakers are going to be back to back Champions again! Phoenix!?!? I’m not even thinking about Phoenix. Do I sound concern to you?

  23. TheTruthHurts - May 11, 2010 at 3:22 PM

    ex Laker fan and diehard Jazz fan here. IMHO two things were pretty clear in this series:
    1) The Lakers have assembled the best 7-8 players in the NBA, not sure how anyone can argue with that. Having one big like Odom is enough to get most teams to the playoffs, same goes for Gasol. Putting them together and adding Bynum – forget about it, no team compares. Especially as Kobe becomes even more dangerous as he can shoot as often as he likes (rebounds and better looks due to double teaming of bigs, will come in bunches).
    2)There should be an award for best damn coach year in and year out. Sloan wins that award hands down. To take the kind of talent he has and to take down Denver, who unless i’m mistaken was only 3-4 games behind the Lakers during the season, and to give the Lakers a run each and every game is a testament to the mans unmatched skills. Two 1st rounders on the entire team!
    As to the refs, it’s all rigged. Stern is much smarter than any of us could imagine. He’ll let a low ratings finals occur (ie. Spurs vs anyone) just to make sure he can keep the govt/fbi off the leagues back and allowing him to find ‘ways’ to make the highest ratings game happen. The refs are his employees and will do whatever he says, as long as it’s legal. Given that reffing is subjective in many ways, Stern simply has to tell them to call a Kobe defender a bit tighter or to let Kobe/Lebron get an extra half step before blowing a whistle – neither are illegal as they are close enough to walk the line of the rules, but they sure do give an advantage.
    anyhow, lakers are a better team (hurts to say it, but it’s true).

  24. mark - May 11, 2010 at 4:34 PM

    LOL… Don’t count your trophies before they’re handed to you. Orlando may not be as tough as they appear do to the competition, but they still are tough. The Lakers and the Magic split the two games they played. Gasol and Bynam won’t get the easy shorts they got against Utah, should they play in the finals together. And if they make it to the finals, they will have had to play someone… probably Cleveland. The Celtics are no slouches either.

  25. dusty h - May 11, 2010 at 6:28 PM

    I think the comments about one who has clearly out talented the Jazz shouldnt be condemned as a “rapist” when the current theological climate suggests that churches run rife with child molesters and fondlers of every corrupt stripe in the name of GOD

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