After three consecutive blowout losses in the preseason, the Los Angeles Lakers were finally able to bounce back on Sunday night with an impressive win over the visiting Utah Jazz.
The first half was about as ugly as it gets for the Lakers with the squad only able to put up 38 points to Utah’s 54. The team was out of sync and struggling on both ends, but Kobe Bryant and company came out with a newfound intensity in the second half, especially with their play defensively.
Kobe talked about the Lakers stepping it up on the defensive end of the floor and their style of play moving forward, via Lakers Nation reporter Serena Winters:
Kobe on team's identity: "We're going to be smashmouth basketball. It's going to be nasty, it's going to be physical and it is what is is."
— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) October 20, 2014
With 17 steals in the game, the Lakers were all over the place in the second half led by Ronnie Price and Carlos Boozer. Price was the spark the team needed on Sunday, finishing with 10 assists and four steals while running the show in the backcourt as the only healthy point guard on the roster.
Boozer had arguably his best game as a Laker with 19 points, nine rebounds and six steals. The veteran forward really made an impact in the frontcourt and helped get rookie Julius Randle going. Randle chipped in with eight points, five boards and two blocks.
Even though the Lakers suffered some extremely disappointing losses in the preseason, this win is definitely a major step in the right direction for the struggling squad. Byron Scott’s defensively philosophy seems to be coming to fruition with his players starting to buy in.[divide]
Kobe’s Message To Julius Randle: “If You F— This Up, You’re A Really Big Idiot”