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Monday, May 3, 2010
Lakers take out Jazz: The reactions

By Andy Kamenetzky

A series-opening win over the Utah Jazz may have put the Lakers up 1-0 in a quest to reach the Western Conference finals, but life in the driver's seat wasn't a smooth Sunday drive through the country. The 104-99 victory left the defending champs satisfied with the ends --a win is the most thing, after all-- but not necessarily the means. For example, the bench made quick disappearance of an eight point lead in the fourth quarter, forcing the starters back into action. As Brian explained in our postgame report, talent won out, but it never should have reached this point:
If one wouldn't deem a fourth quarter rescue necessary, then by definition, the "Kobe face" described by ESPNLA.com's Dave McMenamin also should have been absent:

Why are the fourth quarter collapse and Kobe face particularly disheartening? For starters, as True Hoop's Kevin Arnovitz notes, their length provides several inherent advantages towards burying the Jazz:
Plus, Sloan and players themselves has questioned the team's toughness, as shared by ESPNLA.com's Arash Markazi:
The need to wriggle out of a jam down the stretch isn't a reason to question the team's odds in this series. Brian and I remain quite confident in the Lakers' ability to advance. But beyond the risk coming whenever a team plays with fire, it's just never preferable to create a win more complicated than necessary. Yes, the Jazz will always fight in any case, but they could have reduced to a team throwing punches in the air, had the Lakers not let up a bit to start the fourth.

Neither the end of the world nor the most inspirational of victories.

GAME SUMMARIES
Mike Bresnahan, Los Angeles Times
Kevin Ding, Orange County Register
Jody Genessy, Deseret News
Ross Siler, Salt Lake Tribune
Elliot Teaford, Los Angeles Daily News

NOTEBOOK ITEMS
Mike Bresnahan (LAT) jas more details on the knee injury Andrew Bynum is playing though.
Tim Buckley (DN) explains why Sloan isn't sweating AK-47's return and his team needs to get tougher.
Jill Painter (LADN) expresses sympathy for rookie Wes Matthews' assignment checking Kobe.
Broderick Turner (LAT) talks more about the desire for more toughness from the Jazz.

COLUMNS AND BLOGS
J.A. Adande (ESPN.com) analyzes the bench's fourth quarter letdown.
Kevin Ding (OCR) talks about the need for teamwork from the Lakers.
DexterFishmore (Silver Screen and Roll) has an "is what it is" take on the final result.
Mark Heisler (LAT) thinks the Jazz could prove more difficult than originally pictured.
Frank Hughes (Sports Illustrated) raises five talking points from the game.
Mark Kreigel (Foxsports.com) found the outcome utterly predictable.
Jeff Miller (OCR) wasn't drinking purple and gold Kool Aid, despite the victory.
Eric Pincus (Hoopsworld.com) shares the skinny on several aspects of the game.
Sebastian Pruiti (NBAPlaybook.com) breaks down three critical mistakes by Carlos Boozer late in the game.
Bill Plaschke (LAT) was happy to see Odom join the party.
Darius Soriano (Forum Blue and Gold) never doubted a win, but wasn't thrilled by the effort expended towards inevitability.