Sunday, May 9, 2010
Lakers slip by Jazz: The Reactions
By Andy Kamenetzky
An instant classic in Salt Lake City gives the Lakers a 3-0 stranglehold on the series against the Jazz. The 111-110 finish provided chills, thrills and spills, with critical action going down to the very last second. This was a truly fantastic game, and before even dwelling on the specifics, Brian just loved the spirit both teams brought to the table:
Saturday night, the Lakers and Jazz engaged in 48 minutes of what playoff basketball is supposed to be. Two teams playing at an extremely high level, rising to the occasion to make plays down the stretch, and through the game generally. How many of you stood in your living rooms for the final moments of the game? Or were so wired after the buzzer you inhaled all the leftover Zankou Chicken still sitting on the counter after a halftime dinner? (OK, that's a little specific, but you get the point ... )
The outside barrage was led by none other than Ron Artest, who needed just seven attempts to make four 3s after needing 42 attempts to make seven 3s in his first eight games of the playoffs. Artest was so pleased with his performance, which brought a climactic ending to his Twitter feud with Lakers coach Phil Jackson, that he even talked a little trash in his postgame news conference."I was so happy that Coach Sloan had that defensive strategy to play off me," Artest said. "It got me going a little bit. Now we can play basketball the right way. No more gimmick defense."
Said Jackson: "Before the game I said, 'We know he can make them.' Three-point shooters run hot-and-cold. Tonight he was pretty hot."
The see-saw fourth quarter turned out to be a surprising perimeter dual between Korver and Ron Artest, which no one could have predicted considering Korver was 0-for-2 in the first two games in Los Angeles and Artest was 7-for-42 from beyond the arc in the playoffs. The two players combined for 20 points in the fourth quarter and hit 9-of-12 3-pointers in the game."I don't like going back and forth," Artest said. "I'll pay more attention the next game. I'm sure it was fun for the fans but we don't like to make it for the fans."
Artest and Korver were able to have fun during the game basically because neither defense expected either player to make much of an impact. In fact, the Jazz wanted Artest to shoot from the outside so much they basically pretended as if he were invisible once he wandered past the arc.