It's win or stay home for the Jazz tonight when they host Kobe & Company for Game 4 of their second round series. Utah is a small favorite on their home floor.
So much for the Zig-Zag theory. That may sum up the feelings of those laying 4 ½ points with the Utah Jazz in their one-point Game 3 home loss against the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Jazz, down 0-3 in the series going into Monday night's Game 4 home contest, have been installed as 2 ½-point home favorites for Monday's Game 4. The ‘total' is set at 206 ½.
The Jazz, finally out-rebounding the taller Lakers during Game 3, are 18-7-2 ATS in their past 27 home contests. They also shot 48.1 percent from the floor after making only 42 percent of their field goals in the first two games, and had a 13-point second-quarter lead.
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However, there has never been an NBA team to climb out of a 0-3 hole to win a best-of-seven series.
A key in handicapping Monday's Game 4 is Utah's frame of mind. The Jazz have to be down after a 111-110 home defeat during last Saturday's Game 3 in which they missed two shots at the end. The combined 221 points flew ‘over' the 202 total.
Utah point guard Deron Williams scored 28 points and had nine assists, while Kyle Korver contributed a playoff career-high 23 points.
Andrei Kirilenko returned to the Utah lineup for the first time since March 26 after being out with a strained left calf. He chipped in with eight points and six rebounds.
Utah out-rebounded Los Angeles, 42-39, after losing the battle of the boards during the first two games at Staples Center, 101-78. But the Jazz again had problems with Kobe Bryant, who had 35 points and seven assists, and Pau Gasol, who scored 14 points and pulled down 17 rebounds.
Derek Fisher and Ron Artest stepped up with surprising offensive games for the Lakers, each scoring 20 points.
The Jazz only have a day to regroup, but their passionate fan support at EnergySolutions Arena is one of the best in the league. Utah went 32-9 SU there during the regular season, tied for the third-best home mark.
This has been a home team series, with the host going 19-10-1 ATS. The Lakers, though, have posted at least one road playoff victory at Utah in each of the past three seasons. Los Angeles has won its last five games.
The Lakers also may have gotten their perimeter game going. They were 13-for-29 from 3-point range in Game 3 after connecting on only 6-of-29 from beyond the arc during the first two games of the series.
The Lakers still won the first two games, 104-99 as 7-point home favorites in Game 1 and 111-103 as 5 ½-point home ‘chalk' in Game 2. Both of those games went ‘over' the total.
All three of the games in the series have gone ‘over,' which is surprising since the ‘under' had cashed during the previous seven meetings, including all four regular-season games.
Utah has gone ‘over' in its last six games, averaging 107.1 points during this span.
Carlos Boozer, who had 14 points and 14 rebounds in Utah's Game 3 loss, is the leading rebounder in the playoffs averaging 13 per game. But Boozer is going to need help on the boards if Utah is going to prolong the series.
Gasol is averaging 12.5 rebounds, Andrew Bynum 9.8 boards and Lamar Odom 8.5 rebounds during the post-season. The Lakers also have blocked 25 shots during the first three games.
The Jazz are without starting center Mehmet Okur, who has a ruptured Achilles' tendon.
If there is a Game 5, it would be played Wednesday at Staples Center. The Jazz have lost 16 consecutive road games to the Lakers.