Match-Up: Utah Jazz(0-1) at Los Angeles Lakers (1-0)

The Washington Post

The Lakers took Game 1 of this series, 104-99. Kobe Bryant helped the Lakers rally late, scoring 11 of his 31 points in the final four minutes of the game. With its second squad in, the Lakers blew an eight-point fourth quarter lead before Bryant checked himself into the game.

Kobe didn’t receive much help in the victory. Forward Pau Gasol scored 25 points, but no other Laker scored more than ten points. Lakers center, Andrew Bynum has a small tear in his meniscus, which limited him to only 25 minutes.

The Lakers can’t be happy with their Game 1 effort. They shot only 16% from three-point range and 74% from the foul stripe. The Lakers also lost the turnover battle, 14-11.

Even though they lost, the Utah Jazz have to be happy with their Game 1 effort. They went on a 12-1 run to start the 4th quarter. They shot 87% from the foul line and limited everyone not named Kobe or Pau. Kobe Bryant solely beat the Jazz in Game 1. No one else helped.

The Lakers opened as a six-point Game 2 favorite. Given the strong effort by Utah in Game 1, I’ll take the six points. Game 2 will be another close contest. The Jazz may even be able to sneak out a victory.

The Pick: Utah Jazz +6

May Record: 3-0

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