Monday, May 5, 2008

Key Numbers from Lakers Series - Game 1

Much has been said about Kobe Bryant's performance at the line in Game 1. As has been stated eloquently by fellow posters at TCG today, the Jazz do not have an effective answer to Bryant. But gazing at the box score, here are two glaring numbers from Sunday's game:

the number of turnovers by Carlos Boozer. The Jazz turned the ball over far too many times in the 2nd quarter. Watching the game in real time, it seemed like every member of the Jazz was committing unforced errors, but in retrospect only one other Jazzman had more than one turnover - Deron Williams had two.

the number of points scored by Sasha Vujacic in 17 minutes, a large majority of these coming, again, in the 2nd quarter. Vujacic is developing into a modern-day Jazz killer, beginning with his last-second heroics against the Jazz in 2005 (a game I attended with Rising Stock, who has yet to post, by the way). 15 points from this guy seems pretty unacceptable considering he averaged less than 9 for the season, and even less than that in the Lakers' previous series versus Denver. On top of this, The Salt Lake Tribune points out that Vujacic's scoring took place while Kobe was on the bench. The Jazz's second-line SGs, Harpring and/or Korver, have to do a better job defensively on Vujacic. If the Jazz are going to win this series, they must take full advantage of the time that Kobe is not on the court.

Nevertheless, these numbers make me cautiously optomistic. This series does not feel like last year's Western Conference Finals, when the Jazz were totally overwhelmed by the Spurs. Despite these numbers above, the Jazz's poor shooting, the less than 48-hour turnaround, and the other numerous reasons that Jazz fans are giving for the loss, the fact is that the Jazz were in a position in the 4th quarter to win Game 1.

1 comment:

Kevin said...

Nice blog. Folks here in Utah need to calm down and let the series play out. Hitting the panic button after one game doesn't make a lot of sense. I will look forward to reading your comments as the series moves along.