L.A. Lakers-Utah Jazz Recap: Three Things We Learned

My favorite aspect of the NBA playoffs is how quickly the tides can change.

Just four games ago, the Los Angeles Lakers were being called out by every radio host, talk show, newspaper, blog, and other sports mediums—including those in Los Angeles—for being old, slow, and not having what it takes to beat the young, upstart Oklahoma City Thunder.  Suddenly, Kobe was past his prime and couldn't cut it anymore, Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum weren't strong enough for playoff basketball, and Phil Jackson wasn't making proper adjustments. 

That was four games ago.

Since then, the Los Angeles Lakers, led by Kobe Bryant, have reeled off four consecutive victories (two to close out the OKC series 4-2 and two to take a 2-0 lead over the Utah Jazz).

Kobe Bryant has scored 30 or more points in his last three games, playing a balanced and unselfish role while knowing when to go into attack mode.  Every starter for the Lakers has played well.  The bench has been as inconsistent as can be, but that is no different from the regular season. 

The point is, in a matter of 192 basketball minutes, the Lakers have shut up 90 percent of their doubters and brought a sense of calm and normalcy back to Los Angeles.

While the Orlando Magic look like the best team of the remaining eight, it is important to keep in mind that they are playing great basketball from top to bottom.  The Lakers haven't gotten consistency from their bench yet, so their ceiling seems to be a little higher. 

How it all shakes out remains to be seen, but 192 minutes can make all the difference. 


Three Things We Learned:

1.  The Utah Jazz Have No Chance to Win This Series

That's a harsh statement—but most truths and realities are harsh.

There is no question that Deron Williams, Carlos Boozer, and company are leavi...

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