Well, that wasn’t great at all for the Los Angeles Lakers. The Utah Jazz spanked them for the second time in four days, 139-116. Yes. 139 points.
The Lakers didn’t have Patrick Beverley for the second straight game. And then we learned that they weren’t going to have Lonnie Walker IV and LeBron James. It was going to be an uphill climb against the Utah Jazz.
It was an offensive showcase right from the start. And I didn’t have a great feeling about this for the Lakers. Even though the Lakers shot well, the Jazz kept shooting better. Even when the shots were defended well, Utah was making them. It was discouraging but it’s not like the Lakers tried to make this into a dirty and grimy game; it continued to be a shootout. The Jazz dropped 76 in the first half but the Lakers tried to keep up with 71.
And of course, we were hoping that the Lakers would do two things right: get Anthony Davis involved in the second half and for the Lakers not to take a dump in the third quarter. L.A. was successful in the former but not so much on the latter. Again. The five-point halftime deficit ballooned quickly to 13 and the Lakers never really threatened after that. Lauri Markkanen took advantage of an Anthony Davis that was mysteriously passive on defense. Markkanen scored 13 of his 23 points in the third.
We know the Jazz are a three-happy team and this is why I wasn’t in favor of the Lakers getting into that kind of game. Utah went 16 for 38 (.421) from three compared to the Lakers’ 9 for 24 (.375). While the Lakers made some buckets for a while, the Jazz moved the ball so much better and doubled L.A. on dimes, 30-15 (Mike Conley himself had 12). The Jazz’s size also came into play; Utah outrebounded L.A., 51-40, and got more second chance points, 19-9. Utah eventually overwhelmed the Lakers in that second half; the Lakers only scored 45 points in the latter 24 minutes. That defense that we all raved about? I don’t know where that is anymore.
And to make matters worse? Former Laker Talen Horton-Tucker posterized Damian Jones.
Unbelievably, the Utah Jazz are 9-3. They are easily the best story in the league right now.
The Lakers? They are 2-8 and I have no idea what else they need to do other than to play better. And we’re still waiting for that.
Anthony Davis did score 29 points; 10 after the first half. It could’ve been more if Utah didn’t pull away in the third period. Russell Westbrook played yet another excellent game off the bench with 22 points and 5 assists. Kendrick Nunn finally had a halfway decent game with 18 points. But he kept getting picked on by the Jazz offense.
I’ve got nothing else witty to say. The NBA is off tomorrow and the Lakers resume playing on Wednesday as they take on the Clippers, who are also struggling to get it going. Hopefully, the Lakers can take advantage of that. And maybe by then, LeBron, Walker, and Beverley are all available to play.