The Utah Jazz announced early Saturday that Rudy Gobert, Mike Conley and Derrick Favors, who are all nursing minor injuries, as out. That’s not to mention the fact that Donovan Mitchell will be out for at least a week with a severe ankle suffered on Saturday against the Indiana Pacers. The first reaction to the news was that this might be a tough game, even though the Los Angeles Lakers are without their stars LeBron James & Anthony Davis. But the Jazz have a deep team and they battled hard but ultimately fell to the equally deep Los Angeles Lakers.
The Lakers came into this game with news that Anthony Davis is nearing a return from his injury and have been playing relatively well as of late even without their star. The Lakers lost their last game on Thursday but have been able to pick up impressive wins against the Hornets and the Nets on the road to stay alive in the 4/5 seed race in the Western Conference. After the first they looked like they were not going have enough firepower today to take down the defensively elite Utah Jazz. But the Lakers got some big performances from Andre Drummond, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Dennis Schroder. Each scored 20+ points with the leader being Andre Drummond with 27 points.
The Jazz showed what a deep team they can be with a throwback performance for Ersan Ilyasova and a nice contribution from seldom played Juwan Morgan, who contributed 6 points and 5 rebounds. But it was not enough without defensive player of the year favorite, Rudy Gobert. One cannot help but wonder if the Jazz would have won the game if Gobert would have been there for the last play of regulation when Dennis Schroder snuck by the nearest Jazz defender for an easy layup to send the game into overtime. The overtime loss streak that started in 2018 has continued for the Jazz as they looked completely out of gas in the extra five minute period. The Jazz had a good showing from the “starters” today though, with each scoring in double figures lead by Jordan Clarkson with 27, but could not muster enough help from the bench to put them over the top. The Lakers outscored the Jazz bench 27-15 today.
The teams meet for round 2 on Monday night and although the Jazz played well today, there is a chance Anthony Davis will be back and if that is the case then the Lakers are going to be tough to beat even if the Jazz get their starters back. Hopefully it is another close and entertaining game though.