By Ben "Napoleon" Wilson
The Utah Jazz came into Friday's road battle with the LA Lakers on a four game win streak. The Lakers had lost 10 out of 12. The Jazz looked to take advantage of a struggling Lakers team and sweep a season series with the Purple and Gold for the first time ever. It just wasn't to be so.
We can go over the box score and point out that no one scored more than 14 for the Jazz. We can point out that no one had double-digit boards for the Jazz or that they had only 30 rebounds as a team compared to LA's 45. It doesn't take a full statistical breakdown on this one to figure out that the Jazz just got their butts kicked in this one.
The fact is that the Lakers played really well. As a Jazz fan, I kept waiting to see the disfunction and infighting manifest itself on the court and all I saw was Ron Artes....uh, make that "World Peace" raining triples like he was Reggie Miller and Kobe penetrating and dishing to the right player over and over.
The Lakers won another home game on Sunday vs. the OKC Thunder on ABC. Looks like LA is on the verge of a breakout and might turn into the team that everyone thought they would be to start the season.
Saturday back home at The Solutions the Jazz hosted the second best defensive team, the Indiana Pacers. The Pacers give up just 89.9 points per game and hold opponents to just 41.9% from the field. Saturday night the Jazz offense shot 53% behind Big Al Jefferson's 11 makes.
The Jazz battled the height of Indiana all night. Indiana's big 7'2" center, Roy Hibbert, snatched up 12 boards for the Pacers. But the Jazz offense was just too much for the defensive-minded Pacers. The Jazz went to Big Al in the post over and over to close the game, and he didn't disappoint.
1320 KFAN is quick to point out some of the deficiencies in Al Jefferson's defensive game. For all the criticism of Big Al that you hear on KFAN it's also important to see how good Al is on the offensive end, particularly, later in the game and when the game is close. Big Al scored 13 points on 6 for 10 shooting in the 4th quarter and overtime.
With the win over the Pacers the Jazz stay within 5 games of the 4th seed and home court advantage in the Western Conference. Some 1320 KFAN listeners might scoff at the idea of the Jazz moving all the way up to the 4th seed, but in a conference where the Warriors have lost 2 straight and the Clippers have dropped 4 in a row, seeing the Jazz as the 4th best team in the West is not out of the question.