EMPTYING THE NOGGIN – Favors shines as Lakers knock Jazz out of flow

Emptying the Noggiin

• I tried the best I could to explain the feeling of desperation around the Lakers before the game. D’Antoni pre game presser was largely about what a great city LA is and what a great team the Lakers are to play for, in other words if you don’t get your act together you are getting out. The team meeting the Lakers had in Memphis was a group calling out Dwight Howard and to some extent begging Dwight Howard to come along for the ride from what I was told. Put all this into one pot and if the Lakers had lost tonight it felt as though serious ramifications could have come down. Instead, the Lakers played hard from start to finish and took the Jazz out of the game.

• The Lakers took the Jazz out of their game completely in the first quarter. Detroit and Miami had fronted Jefferson and caused the Jazz some problems but the Jazz were unable to deal with the length of Howard and the ball never got to Al. When the ball didn’t get to Al all of the order and flow the Jazz have been playing with went out the window. Over the past weeks the Jazz predicated so much off what Al and Paul were doing and then everyone played off their action and tonight they had no impact on the game so the rest of the team had a hard time following.

• Derrick Favors length and athleticism was able to play with the Lakers, he was the one Jazz player who impacted the game and made the Lakers react to him. He was active, impactful and hit some nice shots. He has made another step of progress over the last week with his offensive game. He is a much better player off the pick and roll then he is in the post but he is getting more comfortable in the post and handling that situation better. The Jazz are trying to develop him into both a post and pick and roll player. The Jazz could decide to just use him in the pick and roll and it might be easier and maybe even more productive but long term if he can gain a back to the basket game as well it will be very beneficial.

• Gordon had an impact on the game as well tonight. He got rushed a bit on his shots but he was able to get to the basket and he defended fairly well.

• Millsap needed to be closer to World Peace on the three balls but that is hard when you feel like you need to help on the penetration.

• Teams are making Jamaal shoot the ball.. He needs to take the shots because if he is not guarded he needs to try to keep the opponent honest and tonight they didn’t fall going 1 for his first 10.

• When the Jazz couldn’t get to ball to Jefferson then the offense didn’t have anything to predicate the action off, this is where they really missed someone like Mo tonight for his ability to push the ball up the floor and for his ability to make plays. Other nights the distribution point guard has been important tonight the play maker would have been helpful.

• An area where Alec Burks must improve is how he plays off the ball both offensively and defensively. This is new to him since everything he did offensively in college was with the ball and defensively he was inactive in college. He is not impacting the game enough positively when he doesn’t have the ball in his hand. Watch the contrast to how much DeMarre impact tomorrow night when he is not on the ball or with the ball.

• Give the Lakers credit. Their season was spiraling out of control and if they didn’t win tonight who knows what would have happened and they played with great intensity all night and outplayed the Jazz for 44 of the 48 minutes of this game.