PLAYA VISTA, Calif. — They need to do a better job with him, even if it's only on a wing and a prayer.
That seemed to be the suggestion Monday from point guard Deron Williams, after he was asked what more the Jazz can do on Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant in their ongoing NBA playoff series.
"Hope he misses," Williams said with a smile. "Hopefully he has some games like he did in the Oklahoma (City) series."
Bryant, who had 31 points and shot 12-for-19 from the field in the Lakers' second-round Game 1 win over the Jazz on Sunday, had one 12-point game in a first-round Game 4 loss to the Thunder and a 13-point game in a Game 5 win over Oklahoma City.
Last season's NBA Finals MVP also had a 24-point night during a Game 3 loss at Oklahoma City, but he shot just 10-for-29 from the field that night. "I mean, he's one of the toughest players to guard in this league," Williams said. "He can get pretty much wherever he wants to on the court — and he's a guy that, it seems like, he practices shots with a hand in his face.
"So it really doesn't matter. I mean, there were some plays where you thought Wes(ley Matthews), C.J. (Miles) had him under control — and he just raises up over them and hits shots. So, it's gonna be tough all series long."
Miles and Matthews had relative success against Denver star Carmelo Anthony in Utah's first-round win over the Nuggets.2 comments on this story
Whether or not that translates to Bryant, though, remains to be seen — especially considering that the Jazz see both similarities and differences between that the two assignments.
"He (Bryant) is not as physical as Carmelo," Miles said.
"Carmelo is a tough matchup for us size-wise," Williams added. "He's bigger than both (Miles and Matthews; Kobe's a lot smaller."
No less difficult to defend, though.
"They're different players, but they've both got the same goal, and that's to beat you up on offense and try to score," Matthews said. "It's the same fight — just a different person."