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JAZZ AT LAKERS
Get ready for a Western conference playoff preview here between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Utah Jazz!
Only about a week ago it looked pretty certain that the Lakers were going to be playing the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs. The Phoenix Suns were threatening to make a late push to be in the eighth spot in the West, but they just couldnít hang and have been knocked out of playoff contention.
In a lot of ways the Phoenix Suns not making the playoffs is good news for the Lakers as they have a much easier time handling Dirk Nowitzki and company opposed to Steve Nash, Shaq and the rest of the boys from Arizona.
Even though it did look like a done deal that the Lakers would be squaring off against the Dallas Mavericks things have changed as of late as the Mavs have been on a roll and the Utah Jazz have struggled and dropped all the way down to the eighth spot in the West.
After three straight losses Deron Williams and company have look like they have lost their edge as we get closer and closer to playoff time in the West. With two games left to go for the Jazz and the Mavs the eighth spot is still up for grabs for both teams, but you can beat neither one of these teams that is playoff bound want to play Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of this yearís playoffs.
In the past the Lakers have had some serious trouble containing the Jazz superstar point guard Deron Williams. Although Kobe may be a match up nightmare for Utah, the same goes for Williams for the Lakers. Derek Fisher and Jordan Farmar are great defensive point guards, but Williams is on another level altogether as a complete package point guard.
Another big advantage the Jazz has had on other teams over that past couple of seasons has been their size. With monsters in the paint like Carlos Boozer and Paul Milsap the Jazz seem to dominate the paint night in and night out. Not only do the Jazz have these two big bodies in the paint, but they also have Andrei Kirilenko and Memet Okur who can hurt you from both inside and outside the paint.
All season long the Jazz have dealt with some injuries problems to their superstars and as a result are fighting for one of the lowest seeds in the Western conference playoffs. Although they donít seem to be as dominant as they were last season, they are still a force to be reckoned with in the West.
They will without a doubt in my mind be one and done team in the playoffs this season, especially if they face the Lakers, but they might be able to reach the second round if they are able to get the final two wins of the season.
The Lakers on the other hand have come on strong as of late. They may have dropped one game to a red hot Blazers team up in Portland recently, but the Lakers are still playing great basketball right now especially with the addition of a healthy Andrew Bynum back in the lineup.
With this game being in LA and everyone on the Lakers squad playing at a high level I donít see the Jazz pulling off the upset. As a result this will be the first round match up and Utah will most likely get swept once again against the Lakers in the playoffs.
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