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Utah's Win Doesn't Make It a Series

Apr 24, 2009 – 4:32 AM
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Brett Pollakoff

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Cherry Picking recaps yesterday's playoff action.

The Jazz did indeed beat the Lakers in Game 3 of their first round playoff match-up, and cut L.A.'s lead in the series to two games to one in the process. But just because Utah was able to squeak out a two-point victory at home basically at the buzzer, that doesn't mean that suddenly we now have a series on our hands.

Because we don't. Look a little more closely at how this one went down, and you'll see that so much had to go wrong for L.A. and right for Utah, that this game was the exception to the rule, and not the rule itself.

Consider the following, and you tell me if any of this, much less all of it, is likely to happen ever again, much less in Game 4 on Saturday:

-- Andrew Bynum picked up a foul on his team's first offensive possession. When his second came less than four minutes later, Bynum was sent to the bench, and was barely able to stay on the floor at all the rest of the game. Bynum played just seven total minutes, and finished with four points and two rebounds, while picking up five personal fouls.

-- Pau Gasol, normally a reliable free throw shooter who shot better than 78 percent from the line for the season, barely drew iron on his first attempt and finished 4-of-10 on the night. The poor performance could have been a continuation from Game 2, where he missed two clutch free throws with under 30 seconds left that would have sealed the game for his team.

-- Kobe Bryant shot 5-of-24 from the field on a combination of poor choices and misses on shots that he normally makes. He didn't score his first points of the game until there were just over five minutes left in the second quarter.

-- The Lakers' bench -- everyone except Lamar Odom, that is -- combined to shoot just 2-for-12 on the night. (Okay, so that isn't exactly a novelty.)

-- Carlos Boozer had 15 rebounds by halftime and finished with 22, tying a Jazz postseason record also held by Karl Malone.

-- After the Lakers put up 113 and 119 points in their first two games respectively, they managed just 86 in Game 3.

And after all of that, the Jazz needed a shot at the buzzer to come away with the two-point win.

Call it a hunch, but most of these things probably aren't going to happen on Saturday -- including the part where Utah leaves with the victory.

This series is over in five.

Doing Lines

Utah out-rebounded the Lakers 55-40 in Game 3, thanks in no small part to Carlos Boozer's 22 boards. He also had 23 points on 9-of-17 shooting, good for the team lead in both categories.

Paul Pierce started off on fire for the Celtics, and single-handedly made sure that his team wouldn't go down 2-1 to a feisty young Bulls team. Pierce calmly came out and hit his first six shots, good for 13 points and enough to give Boston an 11-point lead that they continued to build on the rest of the night.

Derrick Rose? Not so much. On the night he received his Rookie of the Year hardware, Rose managed just nine points, two assists, and seven turnovers in 33 minutes of action.

The Spurs' offense was virtually nonexistent in Dallas. How bad was it? San Antonio had scored just 42 points through three quarters, and in the +/- category, the team's starting five averaged a -26. Erick Dampier? He was +37.

Watching Film

Deron Williams' game-winner over the Lakers. Losing Derek Fisher was the easy part -- anyone can do that. But fading to his right while shooting over the long, outstretched arm of Lamar Odom as time is winding down? That was special.

On the Blockquote
"They kicked our ass every which way but loose," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "We didn't play well at either end of the court, and they had a lot to do with it."
Basketball John at SLC Dunk:
We had a guy behind us that said he couldn't see when we stood up. I was polite and just nodded. ... The man explained to me that he had been going to Jazz games for 23 years and that this was the first time anyone has stood up in front on him. What? That was the first time, ever? Right.

Well, as you can imagine, we stood almost the entire third and fourth quarters.
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