Lakers Steal a 3-0 Lead Over the Jazz


The Lakers have now played the Utah Jazz in the NBA Playoffs three years in a row.  In all three years, the Lakers have won the first two games at the Staples Center.  However, they lost game three to the Jazz the last two years when the venue switched to Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City.

But this year it was different – barely.  The Lakers eked out a 111-110 victory in a closely contested game that could have gone either way.  There were no less than eight lead changes in the final two minutes.

Two things have really stood out so far in this year’s playoffs.  The Lakers have played in the two hardest venues – Oklahoma City and Salt Lake City – compared to any of the other competitors in the NBA’s second season.

Not only have the Lakers played in the toughest venues during the playoffs, but six of their seven wins have been close.  And none closer than tonight’s contest with both teams trading baskets and the lead down to the wire.

Both bode well for the Lakers down the road.   When a team gets to the conference finals and the NBA finals, it can surely expect to be tested.  This is where those close games playing on the road in tough venues really matters. 

Of the other remaining teams that hold series leads – Orlando, Cleveland, and Phoenix – all have had runaway victories and have not been involved in as many tight games as the Lakers.  But will the Lakers use this competitive experience to their advantage?

Again tonight as it was last year and the year before, when push came to shove in the final minutes, it was the usual suspects who took over the game, namely Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher.

With less than two minutes left in the game, Kobe Bryant hit an 18-foot jumper to put the Lakers up 103-102.  The next time he got his hands on the ball, h...

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