The Lakers came out clicking on all cylinders and raced out to an early lead. Kobe Bryant started the game off playing the role of facilitator getting all of his teammates involved. He was very efficient in the first half, scoring 12 points on five-of-seven shooting with five assists.
Trevor Ariza had 10 points in the first quarter and finished the game with a career playoff high of 21 points. Derek Fisher, playing in his 155th career playoff game got into foul trouble early.
Shannon Brown came off of the bench and contributed a solid effort in 22 minutes and added six points on two three point shots. He finished the game with a line that read nine points, two rebounds, three assists and one steal.
NBA basketball is a game of runs and the Lakers put together more runs than the Jazz. The Lakers lead by 22 points at the half. The Lakers were dominant in the first half shooting 66-percent from the field while playing stellar defensively holding Utah to 35-percent shooting.
Utah was 15-26 on the road this season and had lost six straight road games to the Lakers. The Jazz set out to change that by starting the second half on an eight-to-one run. Utah played better and continued to hang around cutting the lead to eleven twice.
The Jazz were able to out-rebound the Lakers 46-38 which allowed them to keep them close and within striking distance, even cutting the lead to single digits 98-89 with 5:43 to go in the fourth.
Kobe Bryant took over the game and knocked down two consecutive shots to push the lead back to 13 points. Kobe’s emphatic dunk, which was part of the seven points he added down the stretch along with the four points by Trevor Ariza ensured that the L.A. would take game one.
Carlos Boozer had a great game, led the Jazz in scoring with 27 points and grabbed nine rebounds. Deron Williams had a good game putting up a double-double with 16 points and 17 assists.
The Jazz ran their pick and roll offense to perfection, outscored the Lakers in the second half and had some excellent shots that they failed to knock down. Utah was able to get the Lakers big men in foul trouble and go to the line and knock down several free throws.
These are a few of the positives that Utah can take going into game two. The Jazz were able to hang around and keep the game close but the Lakers were just too much as they’ve been all season.
The Lakers got 24 points from Kobe Bryant, 20 Points from Pau Gasol prior to him fouling out of the game. Trevor Ariza was huge today scoring several ways as the Jazz sagged off of him to focus more attention on Kobe & Pau.
The Lakers are 39-3 when Kobe attempts less than 21 shots. The Lakers are 9-0 in first round series when they're the No. 1 seed. Game two will be back at the Staples Center on Tuesday night at 7:30 PST on TNT.