Thursday, May 15, 2008

Kobe Employs New Strategy; Lakers Win

The Los Angeles Lakers last night defeated the Utah Jazz 111-104 to take a 3-2 series lead in the Western Conference semifinals. That in and of itself isn't that newsworthy; most everyone expected L.A. to win. It was how they won that was unique: Kobe Bryant was a whopping 6-of-10 from the field and 13-of-17 on free throws (for 26 points). That's right: Kobe shot almost twice as many free throws as he had field goal attempts. Of course, Kobe was playing with a balky back and that certainly limited him offensively (and defensively, as the guy he was guarding, Ronnie Brewer, scored the Jazz's first eight points).

Even more shocking? The fact that Kobe didn't attempt a field goal at all in the fourth quarter. None. Nada. Zilch. Bumpkis. Instead, the Lakers' resident roster of David Copperfields magically appeared and contributed. Lamar Odom went for 22 points and 11 rebounds; Pau Gasol scored 21 points and had 6 rebounds and 8 assists; and Vladimir Radmanovich and Derek Fisher combined for 29 points. For those of you keeping score at home, that's all five starters in double figures, and when the Lakers have all five of their starters score in double figures, they rarely lose (17-1 in the regular season).

Oh, and Boston won too. Let's see...LeBron started off strong...then LeBron cooled off. Yep, that's how it went. Cleveland was up 14 at half and lost by 7 as James was a cool 4-of-11 in the second half.

Lassen: This time, Kobe didn't need to be spectacular
Lakers Keep Home Fires Burning

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