Mehmet Okur needs to learn how to block out

Utah center Mehmet Okur has played pretty well against the Lakers; he’s averaging 18 points and 11 boards against L.A., which is a pretty nice jump from his regular season stats. But the guy needs to stop flopping in crunch time and get his team a defensive rebound.

With 1:53 to play and the Lakers leading, 101-100, Okur was positioned for a defensive rebound when Gasol gave him a little shove in the back. Okur, like most international players, overreacted to the contact, trying to draw a foul. The refs didn’t bite and Gasol gathered the rebound. The possession eventually ended with a Lamar Odom dunk.

With 0:21 to play and the Lakers leading, 105-102, Okur again had position – this time in the lane – when Gasol put a forearm in his back and pushed him three or four feet towards the basket. When Sasha Vujacic’s missed shot came off the rim, Okur left his feet and again overreacted to contact from Gasol, taking himself out of the play once again in an attempt to draw a foul on Gasol. The refs didn’t bite and Gasol got an easy dunk that put the game away.

Had Okur lowered his center of gravity and stood his ground, I don’t think that Gasol would have been able to move him so easily. Those two offensive rebounds decided the game, and those are calls that you just don’t get in crunch time.

Otherwise, Okur played pretty well in Game 5, posting 13 points and 13 rebounds, but if the Jazz have a chance to come back and win this series, he’s going to have to realize that he’s stronger than Gasol and that he needs to use leverage to move the longer Spaniard out of the way.

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