The Utah Jazz dominated an already decimated team in the Los Angeles Lakers. As the game went on the only thing that I was really tracking was if the team would hold the Lakers under 89 points (the Jazz average so far this preseason). The game was great for Jazz fans, and a snoozer for Lakers fan. That was apparent at tip off where about 4 fans were in the Honda Center arena in Anaheim. I'm not hating on the Lakers fan, I understand that the Jazz aren't a huge draw. But with how they have played so far in the preseason, it's pretty obvious that they will turn some heads if they can keep it up.
For LA, they were playing without Nick Young, Steve Nash, Jeremy Lin, and a handful of other non-impact players. It would have been a sin for the Jazz not to win, even without Alec Burks in uniform. Bereft of any real help (Carlos Boozer and Jordan Hill had 29 and 17 between them), you knew that this was going to be the Kobe Bryant show. And it was. And this is apparently what we're going to see this year from the Los Angeles Lakers if they can't get healthy.
Kobe went right at Gordon Hayward -- and all other players -- tonight, and had a pretty Kobe game. When he was in his groove he was making jumpers with expert proficiency, and when he was not, he was the beneficiary of numerous late whistles. He would end up scoring 27 points off of 23 shots, and 13 free throw attempts (he would miss four in a row during the game, if you are keeping score at home). Kobe also led the Lakers in assists this game with a whopping 4. To be fair, his squad shot only 41.0 fg% and went 0 for 5 from downtown. There weren't a lot of assists to be had . . . unless you were the Utah Jazz.
Utah started the game off a little TOO in love with the three point shot. In the game against the Los Angeles Clippers they went inside out with dribble penetration and reversed the ball out for open jumpers. In this game they went straight to jump shots, and that resulted in a number of inefficient possessions. Quin Synder wasn't shy about taking time outs in this game and took them frequently to get his team back on track. For the most part they tread water early because of offensive rebounding, and some put backs. Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter established an inside presence that the Lakers could not match. And from there the game got away from the Lakers.
Gordon Hayward was spectacular, Trey Burke continued to hit threes and play to near perfection on the pick and roll, and Rodney Hood somehow scored 11 points on 6 shots. Of course, he was out done by Dante Exum who would score 13 off of 6 shots. These are very efficient rookies.
The big story was the Utah Jazz bench, who outscored the Lakers bench 63-18. That's not a mistake. That's really how it went. Brock Motum was making outside jumpers (including a three) and Jack Cooley was dominating inside the paint and finishing alley-oop layups. It was that much of a blowout.
It's going to be hard for other teams to deal with the Jazz inside this year. Rudy Gobert had 9 points (3 shots), 4 rebounds, and was a huge target that the Lakers had to quadruple team him on box outs. And Trevor Booker only had to play 12 minutes in this game as he was just a force of nature and got a chance to show off his dribble up-fake game, as he consistently took the Lakers off the bounce and finished for power layups. Apparently Trevor Booker has the same game as LeBron James, but no one knew about it.
So tonight's Booker Cereal scale is "Hidden Treasures."
The Jazz play tomorrow night against the Los Angeles Clippers -- and we'll see if they can go 5 - 0. Fun night for the Jazz. Better for Jazz fans.