Where do I begin? Maybe with Kobe finally getting a well-deserved M.V.P. trophy? Or maybe with Charles Barkley's prediction that the Jazz would come out fired up, ready to spoil the M.V.P. celebration? Or possibly, if the Laker's would get some REBOUNDS this game???!!!!
I'll start with Sir Charles. Watching Inside the NBA a few nights ago, Barkely made the comment that when he won the Poldhoff award, he had a horrible game and they ended up losing as well, (Not really what a Laker fan wants to hear). Kenny Smith chirped in and also mentioned that when David Robinson won the award the year after Hakeem got it and they met in the playoffs, Robinson didn't mention the Dream in his acceptance speech, when speaking about all the great big men that had won the award before him. The Dream promptly went out and DESTROYED the Admiral in the series and told Smith: "I'm going to his house to get my trophy."
Now don't get me wrong, I don't think there were any M.V.P. candidates on the Jazz squad this year that would come out and give other-wordily performances, but with Deron Williams on the opposing team, along with Carlos Boozer who on Tuesday said he was going to: "Try and spoil the party on Wed", you kinda have to sweat a little bit. But I digress, on to the game.
The game started out exactly how I didn't want it too, with the Jazz coming out tough, playing aggressive and making shots and grabbing boards like you'd expect a Jerry Sloan coached team to do. Mister Andre "My wife let's me get a free pass every year" Kirilenko comes out and shows flashes of what made people waste a high fantasy league draft pick on him in years past, he hit's some jumpers, gets a few swats, and this game is close in the early going.
You can tell from the early going that D-fish and Pau know they are going to have to put buckets on the board early and often tonight to secure a 2-0 lead. I don't really mention Lamar Odom needing to contribute, because he's been the definition of consistent on both ends of the floor for the first six games of the Playoffs (Does anyone else besides me think he's feeling guilty about Bynum getting injured by landing on his foot?).
Utah is leading 13-12 in the first quarter, when the Kobe and Co decide to go on a 13-0 run, with the newly crowned M.V.P. scoring 6 of those 13 points. It is at this point that you realize why Utah sucks so bad away from Energy Solutions Arena. Seriously, aside from Williams, AK-47 and Milsap, no one else looks like they care less about the game at hand (However, 7 Utah players end up in double figures, odd). The Laker's are doing a great job of disrupting Utah's flow. Boozer, who has been channeling his inner Karl Malone with all his cheap shots has been getting whistled for pretty much every thing he does, thus limiting his output for yet another game. Laker's lead by 14 at the half 63-49 and you kinda get the feeling that the series is going back to Utah 2 games to none.
Fast forwarding a bit, the Lake show coasts in the 3rd quarter and it isn't until around the 6 minute mark in the 4th that the Jazz show some signs of life and whittle a double digit lead down to single digits. Seriously, if D-Will wasn't running the point for this team, it'd be real ugly folks. The "machine" Sasha Vujacic wets a couple of jumpers and the lead is back to double digits again. Fish hits a trifecta, and Kobe tops off the night with a sick dime to Gasol for the dunk. Game....OVER.
I'm not going to say this series is over, but Utah is going to have to get a win in the Staples center in order to win, and by the looks of the first two games, they'll need an M.V.P. performance of their own. And Utah fans, under any circumstances, DO NOT BOO DEREK FISHER!!!