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Utah Jazz Vs. LA Lakers
ROUND - Western
Utah Jazz and LA Lakers Series Preview
It took the Los Angeles Lakers just four games to destroy the Denver Nuggets, while the Utah Jazz beat the Houston Rockets in six. The result of this semi-final series will be partly based on Utah’s ability or inability to shutdown the explosive Lakers’ offense, which is led by Kobe Bryant.
Utah offers a sound outside attack that features the play of point guard Deron Williams. In post-season play this season, Williams has been the team’s top scorer, averaging 20.8 PPG. He’s hit 59% from the three-point arc and 53% from the floor. His 8.5 APG are also a club best. Chipping in on scoring is power forward Carlos Boozer with 16.0 PPG and center Mehmet Okur with 13.2 PPG. Combined, Okur and Boozer have averaged 24.4 RPG.
The Jazz averaged only 90.5 PPG in their series against the Rockets. Their 45% success rate from the floor was sound and their ability to hold Houston to 88 PPG in the First Round bodes well for the series versus the Lakers.
The Lakers put on a scoring clinic in the First Round, averaging 114.8 PPG. Four Los Angeles scorers averaged double figures against the Nuggets. Led by shooting guard Bryant’s 33.5 PPG, the team hit 48% from the floor and 40% from downtown. The muscle upfront has contributed a total of 47.1 PPG, with power forward Pau Gasol hitting 22.3 PPG. Small forward Luke Walton was good for 14.0 PPG and power man Lamar Odom hit for 11.8 PPG.
On the boards, Odom grabbed 9.3 RPG, while Gasol took down 9.0 RPG. Gasol has been a tough defender, blocking 2.75 SPG. Bryant’s been fine on “D,” with 1.5 SPG and 1.5 BPG. Bryant also led the club in assists, averaging 6.3 per game. One problem the Lakers had against the Nuggets was rebounding. Denver out matched LA 48.8 RPG to 42.5 RPG.
Look for the Jazz big men to try to control the boards against the sharp shooting Lakers, negating as many second chances as they can. Although Bryant has been massive, Utah must also contend with the Lakers’ fine frontcourt. For Utah, Williams has been hitting from just about every and anywhere.
Maddux Sports Series Prediction:
LA Lakers in 5 Games
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