NBA Playoffs Lakers vs Jazz Game One Recap: Anybody Can Take A Reservation But The Key Is HOLDING The Reservation

The majority of us who didn’t live under a rock or in a womb throughout the 1990s all know where the title of this post comes from.

It’s one of the many iconic moments from Seinfeld that people still quote today. People still use it today like it’s the first time such a comedic routine has been uttered. The scene was one of those many Seinfeld moments in which Jerry was able to joke about things that people always wanted to hilariously say. Apparently, having a rental car reservation of some sort used to be like trying to catch lightning in a bottle.

Do I have anyway of knowing this? No. I was only nine years old when this scene was broadcasted for the first time. And yet, still I found it hilarious that someone would be essentially calling out a person in the service industry that worked for a company that was trying to screw over its customer. It highlights the act of taking a reservation as one of the easiest things someone could do. But the reservation itself is futile if it can’t be held until someone redeems the reservation.

It’s brilliant writing and satire that still holds true today.

In today’s NBA and especially the Western Conference playoffs, it correlates perfectly to the way teams try to beat the Los Angeles Lakers. Everybody wants to knock off the “evil” Los Angeles Lakers. They’re looked at as the Yankees of the NBA even though they haven’t won the most championships of their sport. However, they are often THE most or one of the most successful teams from year to year. And because of this success and polarizing stars (Kobe Bryant is essentially the Roger Clemens/Alex Rodriguez figure), they often have the most bandwagon fans pretending to root for them rather than rooting for the eventual winner.

This causes the majority of basketball fans to loathe a franchise that is actually quite amazing. We want them to lose so that our losing team doesn’t seem so bad. If someone can knock them off in the playoffs, it makes it seem like the little guy can get a break and the evil empire can be brought down for at least one season.

The problem is that this doesn’t seem to happen often enough. The Lakers always seem to get the breaks, calls and luck to continue to be more successful than the uniforms you root for. You can almost sense it coming too. The Lakers’ opponents will be doing very well up until a certain point when everything just falls apart and the Lakers persevere to become victorious. It’s a vicious circle that just goes round and round, which is what makes it not only vicious but a circle.

The fourth quarter of Game One between the Lakers and Jazz is what reminded me of the reservation bit from Seinfeld. The Jazz grabbed an improbable lead with just over four minutes to go. Why was it improbable? Because they had played like crap throughout most of the game and yet found themselves in a very advantageous position to steal Game One on the road against a Lakers team that is an absolute nightmare of a matchup for Utah.

But anybody can take a fourth quarter lead against the Lakers in a playoff game. It’s the HOLDING the fourth quarter against the Lakers that is the most important part.

With a 91-89 lead and 4:10 remaining in the game, Wesley Matthews took a handoff from Paul Millsap around the left block and made a tough reverse layup against Lamar Odom. This extended the Jazz lead to four points and put the Lakers in a precarious situation. They were in serious danger of dropping the first game of a series in which they should cruise to the Western Conference Finals. Even better, they were up double digits for much of this game with a huge early contribution from their putrid bench and yet, here the Jazz were, ready to take this game.

Unfortunately, we all know the rest of the story to this game. The Jazz didn’t have nearly enough poise and execution to answer the answers from the Lakers. Kobe Bryant went into Hero Mode and scored 11 of the final 15 Lakers points to pull out a victory and put the Jazz in the horrific position to try to be the first team in NBA history to beat a Phil Jackson led squad in a playoff series after losing the first game.

And this is the problem for all of those hopeful giant slayers who want to knock off the Lakers in the playoffs. They usually find a way to beat you and there’s not much you can do about it. You can find plenty of fourth quarter leads but if you never hold onto that lead then you just become another notch in the Lakers’ bedpost.

Five Random Paroxi-Notes From This Game

1. I’m not so sure that Wesley Matthews can dribble a basketball. He’s a fantastic rookie and definitely giving hope to those talented players who never get drafted. However, whenever I watch him try to dribble the ball with a defender hounding him, I start to get the feeling that he would dribble the ball off his foot in the All-Star Weekend Skills Challenge.

2. Usually we see Kobe Bryant try to put games away with long two-point jumpers. It looks beautiful when the shots are going and it looks like he’s lost a few steps of greatness when they’re not falling. However, to put this game away Kobe found a way to be aggressive and drive towards the basket more often than not. When he took jumpers, they were relatively close (around free throw line distance). This is the Kobe that scares me at the end of games. If the other Kobe makes the long jumpers, I can live with that. But if Kobe is going to drive to the basket at the end of close games, color me terrified.

3. Carlos Boozer may have had the most deceiving 18-point, 12-rebound performance in NBA playoff history. I don’t think you can be happy with the way he played this game. Yes, it’s a horrible matchup for him. Yes, he has to be worried about contending with the Lakers size. But he still has to be more aggressive in the offensive side of the court. On defense, just try to be as tall as you can and hope Pau Gasol misses. There’s not much else you can do. But on offense, you’re letting the Lakers bigs off way too easy by taking turn-around jumpers. Go to the basket, get physical and try to draw some fouls. You’re in a contract year for crying out loud!

4. The Lakers made just two three-pointers in this game. The two players that made threes for the Lakers were Lamar Odom and Luke Walton. I want you to let that marinate for a bit then look at the fact that those six points were essentially the deciding margin in this five-point loss. I know it’s not that simple but still this needs to be considered. Let me know when you’ve stopped trying to stab your brain with your pencil.

5. The Jazz actually did quite well against the Lakers on the boards. They lost the rebounding battle 43-38 but were able to hold their own throughout the entire ball game. I think the reason for their ability to hang with the Lakers bigs on the boards is due to the fact that Pau and Bynum are slow jumpers and the Jazz were batting the ball all over the place if they couldn’t secure the rebounds initially. And this might actually be the key to hanging with the Lakers on the boards. You have to take advantage of the slow jumping by LA’s interior and bat the ball against the backboard. It’s not as simple as I’m making it out to be but it’s the only way to counteract their length. Once the ball goes quickly back to the glass, the Jazz big men have the distinct advantage of quick-jumping back up to get the ball. It worked quite a bit in this game and could be a decent strategy if the Lakers aren’t crashing the boards with all five guys.

Seth Carstens