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Gordon Hayward leads Utah Jazz over Los Angeles Lakers 94-85

LAL: 23 - 20 - 20 - 22 -- 85
UTA: 28 - 16 - 26 - 24 -- 94

Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Wow, this game was pretty rough early on; however, the Utah Jazz ended up solving the Kobe Bryant -less Los Angeles Lakers late with a few impressive runs in the second half. Somehow the Lakers seem to play as a better team without the future Hall of Fame reptile, and their bigmen -- as predicted -- did not shy away from fighting against ours. The headliners, Gordon Hayward and Nick Young, put on a show. But I really believe that this was a game won (or lost) in the paint.

Yes, Gordon Hayward would finish with 31 points (12/18 FG, 4/7 3PT, 3/3 FT), 7 assists (3 TO), 3 rebounds, 1 block, and 1 steal. And Yes, Nick Young finished with 23 points (4/9 FG, 2/4 3PT, 13/13 FT), 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 rebound, and 1 block. But still, it was a battle of the bigs.

The Lakers group of Jordan Hill, Carlos Boozer, Ed Davis, Tarik Black, and Ryan Kelley finished with 36 points, 29 rebounds, 3 blocks, 2 steals, and a cumulative +/- of -11. The Jazz group of Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Rudy Gobert, and Trevor Booker finished with 35 points, 23 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 blocks, 4 steals, and a +/- of +35 in 97 minutes. The Lakers group shot 54.84 FG%, and got to the line 8 times (making only a quarter of their attempts). The Jazz group shot 36.84 FG%, got to the line 5 times, but made all of them. Utah's bigs also went 2/7 from three in this game, Enes Kanter going 1/3 and Trevor Booker going 1/4.

It is indicative of how different these two teams are though, that the Jazz bigs are taking 7 threes -- while the Lakers as an entire team would take only 8. Personally, I like Quin Snyder's offense better than Byron Scott's.

This game was much closer than it needed to be, but I am glad for the win. I would like to point out the contributions of rookie guard Joe Ingles. He finished with a 3 / 2 / 4 / 3 / 0 line, while hitting 1/2 of his threes, and just basically kept the Jazz' head above water on defense in the first half. Favors will just barely miss a 20-10 game, but get the double double. Hayward will go for over 30+. Trey Burke will continue his hot streak and finish with 20 / 3 / 4 (with 1 turn over) while going 4/9 from deep -- but games like this are all too often won (or lost) without these complimentary players.

Also, it was nice to see Rodney Hood back on the court. He got into it with Wayne Ellington as the Duke/UNC guys did not like each other. But that fight was much like the greater picture of this Jazz team. They are too young to know they should have fear against the contenders. But they are too young to be able to consistently play their game. The Jazz played down to the Lakers in this game. I believe that. I know the two teams are both cellar dwellers. But at this stage, without Kobe, this Jazz team should have won by 20.

Or maybe I just want them to beat up on the Lakers because I am a hater.

Either / or, I am happy for the Jazz win. But expect more next time!