The Jazz are deemed an offseason favorite to compete for the Western Conference crown after adding Mike Conley to the rotation, but the Lakers were ready from the jump as they turned on the defensive pressure and forced them into plenty of tough looks. Aside from Donovan Mitchell, the Jazz lack another primary scoring option and the Lakers played the rest of their roster well as they made the right rotations and forced several turnovers in the process.
Following the impressive win, James explained the defensive outing is what they hope to replicate every game this season.
“That’s who we are, that’s our defensive staple. We want to be that every single night, being able to hold teams under their averages,” James shared.
“We thought we did a poor job against the Clippers in the opener. They had 112 and then they end up with a 140-something last night. But we want to continue to is just getting better and better with our defensive strategies, with our game plan and then just execute that.”
Head coach Frank Vogel admitted after their loss to the Clippers that their defense in the second quarter probably cost them the game and it appears his roster was ready to wash the bad taste in their mouths with their performance against the Jazz. They held Utah to only 41.4 percent shooting and 32.0 percent from the three-point line.
The most impressive stat of the night was the 23 total turnovers they generated as a result of their effort on the defensive end. Anthony Davis was one of the major reasons behind this as he repeatedly closed off driving lanes and took away passing angles with his length.
His move to center also seemed to flummox the Jazz as he was able to man the paint effectively and switch on to smaller players on the perimeter, a sign that he is more than capable of anchoring the team’s defense. In turn, Los Angeles found more opportunities to get out and push the tempo, prohibiting the Jazz from getting their defense set.
With a win finally under their belts, the Lakers can finally look to build some momentum. They have a favorable set of games coming up with their next one at home against what looks to be a rebuilding team in the Charlotte Hornets.