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Utah Jazz run out of steam in 3rd quarter, fall to Lakers

The Jazz has them in the first half, we ain’t gonna lie.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Utah Jazz Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The first 2 1/2 quarters were encouraging for Jazz fans who watched their team get embarrassed on Saturday. The Jazz were competitive with the LeBron James led Lakers, who many are prognosticating will win the NBA championship this year. Not only were the Jazz competitive, but they looked A LOT more confident and connected as a team. For the first half of the third quarter they even looked like the team that wanted the win more than the Lakers……..but they must have gotten ahead of themselves because they let go of any chance they had at winning after giving up a 19-2 run at the end of the third quarter. Credit to the Lakers for doing what they needed to to seize the momentum in this game once and for all. With this win, the Lakers clinch the number one seed in the west for the 12th time in the last 36 years. 33% number one seed rate over that long of a stretch is incredible as a franchise.

Anthony Davis led the way for the Lakers tonight seemingly getting a favorable whistle on every play making 12/15 free throws and 42 points overall. The Jazz threw everything they had at him to try and contain him but the thing that makes the Lakers so hard to beat is that if you are slowing down Davis then LeBron James is going to crush you, which he did at the beginning of the 4th quarter. In the end the two superstars just overpowered the Jazz and the Lakers were able to hold the Jazz at bay after that third quarter run.

One silver lining for the Jazz is that Donovan Mitchell had a bounce back game with 33 points and plenty of smart plays on the offensive end. The Jazz looked like they were going to take control of the game at the beginning of the third quarter by starting with an 8-0 run but their momentum fizzled later on as they started to commit senseless turnovers and their offense in turn stalled. They made a nice run at the end of the game but it came up a little bit short as time was not on their side.

NBA: Los Angeles Lakers at Utah Jazz Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

One thing that needs to be said about this game. As good as the Lakers are and there is no doubt that LeBron and Anthony Davis are great players, they sure do get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the officiating. I want to highlight two(out of many) plays that stand out in my mind from this game that were particularly egregious. The drive in the third quarter by Jazz guard Royce O’Neale where there was incidental contact between him and LeBron James and they called an offensive foul on O’Neale. Even the ESPN announcers conceded that if the roles were reversed on that play, the foul would not have been an offensive one. The second play that sticks out is when Jazz guard Georges Niang drove to the hoop and drew a clear blocking foul by Lakers guard Alex Caruso only to have the call reversed by a Lakers coaching challenge. These are just two out of a long list questionable calls all night, and the worst part about it for fans of any team not named the Lakers is that there seems to be such an obvious double standard that it’s hard to even watch the games sometimes. The NBA always seems to draw you back in, but it takes some of the fun out of it when there is such a clear bias at times.

One thing is for sure, basketball is back and overall it is fun to watch these world class athletes compete against each other for positioning in the upcoming playoffs. It will be interesting to see how the Jazz do with their remaining five games, starting with the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday.