Utah 88-86 LA Lakers: Williams Dunk Completes Jazz Escape

Jo-Ryan SalazarSenior Analyst IApril 24, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 21:  Deron Williams #8 of the Utah Jazz looks on in the second half against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on April 21, 2009 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

The Lakers' inability to pull off even a half-decent performance in Utah continues.

Thanks to a Deron Williams slam dunk that will be ripped apart by those clamoring for serious adjustments, the Utah Jazz cut the Lakers' lead in the Western Conference playoffs first round to 2-1, with an 88-86 victory at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City.

The same inept play that plagued Phil Jackson's team in their 17 defeats returned to haunt them again.

Attention, attention—here is how you can prevent Los Angeles from progressing in the playoffs. Let me run down the prerequisites.

* Reduce the Lakers to 36.8% in field goal percentage.
* Reduce Kobe Bryant to 20% FGM or lower (five of 24 tonight)
* Pau Gasol's inability to make free throws out of a wet paper bag (four-for-10).
* Lack of productivity from bench players like Shannon Brown, Luke Walton, and especially Sasha Vujacic (seven points total).
* Outrebound the Lakers (55 to 40).
* Only one player reaching double figures in rebounds for LA, compared to two for Utah (LAL: Lamar Odom 14, UTA: Carlos Boozer 22, Paul Millsap 14).
* Double-team Los Angeles' front five to death.

Teams that know how to win championships cannot depend solely on winning at home. For the Lakers, the No. 1 seed in the West, the inability to win on the road can spell trouble.

Missed jump shots inside the arc. Missed jump shots outside the arc. Blown free throws. Blown layups.

Hello, we may have to bring a netballer wearing a miniskirt from down under to show these boys how to make shots in the post. It was that bad.

What Jackson is going to need to do (besides addressing blown shots from the stripe and near the post) is shake up some things with the triangle offense. The Lakers gave up too many screens and bench players like Kyle Korver feasted on the missed assignments.

With all due respect to Deron Williams, his dunk with 2.2 seconds remaining must be interpreted as a call for the Lakers to get their act together and put those adjustments to work in Game 4.

If not, this series could be 2-2 when it heads back to Staples Center.

Nostradamus couldn't have scripted it any better.


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