The Lakers Are Haunted By Separation Problems

In only one of their eight playoff games so far have the Lakers been able to create any separation.  That was Game Five against the Oklahoma City Thunder, which the Lakers won by 24 points, 111-87.

Their other three victories against the Thunder were all close.  They won Game Six by just one point, 95-94.

In their first two semifinal games against Utah, the situation has not changed.  Although the Lakers had a 14-point lead in Game One and a 15-point lead in Game Two, the Lakers still could not create enough separation to coast to a double-digit win.

Playing at home against a team that is minus two starters, Mehmet Okur and Andrei Kirilenko, the Lakers should have found a way to separate themselves from the undermanned and undersized Jazz.  Instead, they eked out a 111-103 win

Unlike Sunday’s game, Jackson did not wait until the six-minute mark to bring Kobe Bryant back.  Jackson put Bryant in at the 8:11 mark with the Lakers up by nine, 96-87.

Despite Bryant’s heroics in the final minutes of the first game, it didn’t seem to matter as the Jazz felt their confidence swelling as the Lakers let them hang around and hang around until their 15-point lead had slimmed all the way down to four points, 96-92, and again at 98-94.

If the Lakers continue to let teams hang around, the Lakers will not be hanging around for the NBA Finals.  No matter which team wins the other semifinals series, the Phoenix Suns or the San Antonio Spurs, either one is capable of defeating the Lakers unless the Lakers play a full four quarters.

Turnovers and missed free throws, which have haunted the Lakers all year, continued to sabotage any chance of the Lakers creating separation, even though they had pretty much stifled the Jazz’s main threat, Deron Williams, throughout most the final stanza.

But 20 turnovers led to 28 transition points for the Ja...

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