A potential playoff preview was without all of the stars on Saturday afternoon, but it still provided playoff intensity. The Los Angeles Lakers experienced some serious ups and downs, but in the end, were able to come out on top.
Three players scored at least 25 points and the Lakers survived blowing a 13-point fourth quarter lead to defeat the Utah Jazz, 127-115, in overtime. The win improved the Lakers’ record to 35-22, just 1.5 games behind the Denver Nuggets for fourth in the Western Conference.
The Lakers were still without Anthony Davis and LeBron James while Utah was missing Donovan Mitchell, Mike Conley Jr., Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors. This opened up the opportunity for others to really step up and many Lakers did that exact thing.
Andre Drummond led all scorers with 27 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals. He also continued his improved free-throw shooting, knocking down 7-of-8 from the line.
Dennis Schroder also stepped up down the stretch, finishing with 25 points, eight assists, six rebounds and two blocks including the game-tying layup to send the game to overtime.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope bounced back in a big way from his rough Celtics performance with 25 points, knocking down five 3-pointers on the night. Markieff Morris added a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds while Kyle Kuzma had an efficient night with 13 points (4-of-6 shooting), six rebounds and six assists.
While the team is happy to come out with a win, they will surely be disappointed with their performance in the fourth quarter. The Lakers lead by 13 early in the fourth but would go scoreless for more than six minutes, allowing the Jazz to climb back in the game. The two teams would then begin trading baskets, capped off by a three from former Laker Jordan Clarkson, which was followed by the Schroder layup to send the game to the extra period.
The Lakers struggled to contain Utah’s 3-pointers for much of the night. Without their stars, the Jazz were even more reliant on their already potent 3-point shooting and it carried their offense. The Lakers held Utah to just 41.6% shooting overall, but they hit 23 threes with Clarkson, Joe Ingles and Ersan Ilyasova all hitting at least five.
L.A., meanwhile dominated the paint, outscoring Utah 64-38 while outrebounding the Jazz by 15 and adding eight blocks.
Next up for Lakers
The Lakers will finish out their two-game set with the Jazz on Monday, before traveling to Dallas for another two-game set against Luka Doncic and the Mavericks on Thursday and Saturday.
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