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Jazz tries to take away Lakers' inside game

Despite slowing down Gasol, Bynum and Odom, the trio still combine for 22 points, 39 rebounds and three blocked shots in Game 3.

May 08, 2010|By Broderick Turner

Reporting from Salt Lake City -- For three days, all Utah heard was how the Lakers' big men dominated the Jazz, how the Jazz big men were no match for the Lakers' big three of Pau Gasol, Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom, how the Western Conference semifinal series would be won by L.A. because the Jazz didn't have an answer.

Gasol, Bynum and Odom combined for 50 points on 18-for-22 shooting, 40 rebounds and nine blocked shots in Game 2 at Staples Center, and there was no reason to think that trio wouldn't overwhelm the Jazz frontcourt again in Game 3 Saturday night.

It didn't happen, only because the Jazz made a pointed emphasis to try and take away Gasol, Bynum and Odom as much as it could.

Still the trio combined for 22 points, 39 rebounds and three blocked shots in the Lakers' 111-110 victory over the Jazz at EnergySolutions Arena.

"It's been really talked a lot about how much we pounded them and how much we are bigger than them and how much of an advantage we have," said Gasol, who finished with another double-double with 14 points and 17 rebounds. "Obviously they tried to take that away."

Gasol and Bynum are 7-footers and Odom is 6-10.

The Jazz has countered with 6-9 Carlos Boozer and 6-8 Paul Millsap. But they just aren't tall enough or have enough length.

The Jazz starts Kyrylo Fesenko, a 7-1, 300-pound center, but he's a third-year player who only is playing because Mehmet Okur is out for the season because of a ruptured left Achilles' tendon.

Since the Lakers had entered Game 3 making just 31.1% of their threes in eight playoff games, it made sense for the Jazz to try and take away the Lakers' inside game.

"Every single time, they were packing the lane," Gasol said.

Bynum never got untracked, scoring nothing.

He missed his only shot. He did have four rebounds, two assists and one blocked shot.

"I just didn't have a good game," Bynum said. "I didn't get anything accomplished out there. Of course I wasn't aggressive. I was just being passive."

Odom finished with eight points and eight rebounds.

He didn't make his presence felt in the game until very late.

Odom made two free throws to bring the Lakers to within 100-98 with 2:48 left.

He made a three-pointer for a 101-100 Lakers lead with 2:25 left.

Gasol and Odom began to make plays in the second half.

Gasol got up just four shots in the first half and scored just four points. Odom took three shots in the first half and scored just two points.

But in the second half, Gasol had 10 points on five-for-eight shooting and 10 rebounds, seven offensive. Odom had six points and four rebounds.

"It's a long game," said Odom, who was two for six from the field.

"You can [be bad] the whole game and you can make a play. We made plays in the second half."

broderick.turner@latimes.com

twitter.com/BA_Turner

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