The Utah Jazz dominated the injured Los Angeles Lakers in the first half, where up by 22 points at one point, and managed to lose by 7 points. This was the largest loss of the season for the 4-2 Utah club, who recently split games against the Los Angeles Clippers and Lakers. There was much to celebrate in this game as the Jazz whopped on the Lakers early. Yes, Jazz coach Quin Snyder gave Trey Burke the night off, and Trevor Booker sat this one out for injury concerns, but the Lakers were still missing quite a few impact players as well (Steve Nash, Jeremy Lin, Nick Young, Ryan Kelly, Xavier Henry, just off the top of my head).
Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Alec Burks and Enes Kanter were joined in the starting line-up by rookie Dante Exum. Things look great as the Jazz out-hustled, out-muscled, and took control of the paint early. Things got even more silly when Rudy Gobert entered the game and controlled half of the court with ease. At one point the Jazz were up by 22 points, and doing so without their MVP so far (who has been Trey Burke).
The Lakers trimmed the lead down to 16 at the half, and Quin Snyder called it a night for Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors. The Lakers took advantage as Carlos Boozer had his way in the third quarter, while Ronnie Price and Kobe Bryant did their respective things (hustle and hurling) to whittle down the lead to just 3 going into the fourth. A steady diet of Ed Davis against Steve Novak gave the lead, and game, to the Lakers.
I don't care that Novak went 2-3 from outside, his man scored on him each time down the floor. Somehow he was a +/- of zero.
Anyway, this was a tale of two halves. The first held the Jazz, not at full strength, destroying another team not at full strength, but with a larger injury handicap. The second had the Jazz missing about the same number of players as the other team, and losing on the road. There were good things and bad things in this game.
Utah having 28 turn overs was bad. Utah forcing the other team to 40.0 FG% shooting was good. It was a mixed bag.
I'm not happy that the team lost. But I'm happy that no one got injured, which would have been the greater thing to complain about if Snyder kept his stars in the game.
Let's have some highlights!
The Jazz go back to Utah and have three preseason games left. More coverage at SLC Dunk on Monday!