Well, for the first two games, the Lakers have pretty much owned the series against the Jazz. It’s quite evident what the Jazz lack against the Lakers: size. The guys that do have size (Kyrylo Fesenko and Kosta Koufos) are inexperienced… and the Laker bigs would just overmatch them. Carlos Boozer doesn’t get as many good looks going against Lamar Odom, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum. The Jazz do have a Deron Williams that can run around the Lakers but he didn’t exactly have a great Game 2.
But ya know… when people say basketball is 10 percent physical and 90 percent mental? It seems to ring true to this series.
Besides the die-hard Utah Jazz fans and the big-time Laker-haters, no one really thinks Utah can win this series. And ya know what? I don’t even think the Utah Jazz believe they can win this series.
It just seems to be all over their body language. I love Jerry Sloan as a coach. But I think they need to amp it up about five more levels. The Jazz have always employed some physical teams. The Lakers may be big but they’re not the most physical team in the league. When they foul, they should foul harder. Don’t give them lay-ups. Just keep pounding. Try to get them off their game. I mean, they’re not exactly winning with what they’re doing so they might as well try something different, right? But they just don’t seem to have that “killer instinct”. Remember when John Stockton would get away with a lot of those tactics… but they wouldn’t catch him because Stockton looks like a good guy that can do no wrong?
I mean, when the Jazz get within five, it’s like they get more excited than anything… and then they don’t get the job done. It’s funny, really, because the Jazz are looking more like the inexperienced team than the Oklahoma City Thunder here. Maybe because the Lakers underestimated the Thunder… but the Thunder wanted to win this series. They weren’t just happy to be there. This bunch has only been together for a couple of years. And come on now; the Thunder aren’t a big team, either. They’re just out there being scrappy and trying everything in their power to outfox the Laker bigs. Besides Game 5, the Thunder were in all of those games… and at times, they outplayed the defending champions.
Yes, the Jazz are overmatched physically… but they can’t be overmatched mentally, either. In that mindset, they’ll never get past a team like the Lakers; let alone win a title. If the Jazz want to make this into a series, old man Sloan should get on his guys and just play a rough-and-tumble style of basketball (kinda like that slugfest they had against Denver… what happened to THAT?) to throw off the Lakers, who don’t like that sort of play. Plus Sloan should tell his guys to just believe. Believe that they can beat the Lakers. They want to be the best? They have to believe that they are the best. And they have to believe that they can beat the best.
At least, it’s a seven-game series. The complexion of a series can change from game to game. So maybe if they win in front of their home crowd in Game 3, they can start believing then. Because right now, no one seems to believe they can win the series.
Not even the Jazz.