Game 45 Final Score: Utah Jazz 103 - Los Angeles Lakers 99
Jazz, without two starters, give Lakers 3rd home loss of the season.
Wow. WoW even. This was a great game that showed us all what our younger guys are capable of doing when they are given expanded playing time and responsibility. Furthermore, it showed us a lot about Paul Millsap as well, as Sap played the 3 during stretches and it didn't look bad. This adds a new wrinkle to things going into the off-season for sure. Sap finished with 24 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 steals, and 2 blocks. And he was guarded by everyone tonight. Derrick Favors pitched in with a very solid double double (12-10), with 4 assists (wow!), and solid all around play. Gordon Hayward did not get a lot to do because fellow bench mates, and rookies both, Alec Burks and Enes Kanter both played with the intent to intimidate the Lakers, and not be intimidated by them. They each had 17 points. Burks with 17 points, 3 rebounds, and a great offensive performance (7-10, 1-1 from three, 2-3 from the line), that included some timely scores. Kanter was a bull tonight, or a bull driving a bulldozer. He had a career high 17 points, mostly on his own work. He also pitched in with 8 rebounds, and 1 assist. He got to the line 7 times. Most on the team, and got a double technical foul, which I loved. Fantastic performance by the team without best scorer / rebounder Al Jefferson, starting shooting guard Raja Bell, and team "captain" Earl Watson.
But on this day, C.J. Miles' birthday, it does come back to him. He didn't have a great shooting night, but we're seeing more maturity from him. He's still only 24 (Jeremy Evans' age), but he's also a vet. And he played like a vet today. He stayed on the court to get a number of assists, and play very good defense on Kobe Bryant. Kobe got the majority of his points at the line tonight. He finished by shooting 3-20, while having 7 turn overs. C.J. is going home with a W, he already blew out the candle, and got some spit all over Kobe in the process.
Also, #VanessaSystem is a real thing now.