The Lakers took the floor at the Honda Center for their fourth preseason game, this time against the up-and-coming Utah Jazz. The Lakers were 1-2 heading into the game while the Jazz were 3-0.
The story for the Lakers coming in was health as point guards Steve Nash, Jeremy Lin, and Jordan Clarkson were all unavailable for the matchup leaving Ronnie Price to start. The team will also be taking a long look at Ed Davis who played well in the Lakers’ first two preseason games.
The Jazz came in with a young team looking to grow. Gordon Hayward, Trey Burke, and Derrick Favors get most of the attention, but players such as Alec Burks, and Dante Exum will also be watched closely. Big man Rudy Gobert has also played very well this preseason.
The Lakers defense was on display early as the team caused a couple of early turnovers, and a Jordan Hill rebound and putback gave the Lakers a quick 2-0 lead. Offense was a struggle for both teams as there were a number of missed shots and turnovers. A basket and free throw from Derrick Favors gave the Jazz an 8-6 lead five minutes into the first. Kobe got Rodney Hood to bite on a pump fake getting the basket and the foul. Kobe really got going as the quarter went on, hitting another jumper to up his total to nine before getting a break as the teams were tied at 13. Derrick Favors and Trevor Booker would get the Jazz six straight points before a Jordan Hill and-one cut the Jazz lead in half. A beautiful lob from Dante Exum to Rudy Gobert pushed the Jazz lead to seven, but a Ronnie Price jumper cut the lead to five to end the quarter.
Julius Randle got the scoring going with a long jumper, but Gobert answered with a thunderous dunk and a pair of free throws. An Exum finger roll pushed the Jazz lead to double digits for the first time and a Dahntay Jones jumper and layup gave Utah a 15 point lead prompting a Lakers timeout. Offenses struggled for a while, but Kobe returned to knock down a jumper, cutting the Jazz lead to 12 five minutes left in the half. Boozer got back-to-back baskets, but the defense struggled to maintain a high level as the Lakers still trailed by 14. The Lakers really began to fall apart down the stretch of the quarter. The Jazz ended the second on a 14-5 run to lead 56-35 at the half.
Jordan Hill with a rebound and putback to start off the second half, but the offense continued to struggle while the defense failed to secure rebounds allowing the Jazz to keep the lead over 20. Boozer got a quick five points in the quarter and Kobe got a fast break layup to get the lead down to 19. The Lakers got the lead down to 17, but two Gordon Hayward jumpers quickly pushed the lead back to 22. Both offenses stalled for the next couple of minutes as the Jazz maintained a 22 point lead. Ronnie Price made a couple of nice plays with a reverse layup and a steal and dunk, but the Lakers still trailed by 20. The offense remained relatively stagnant and the Lakers struggled to contain the Jazz, particularly Hayward. A pair of Exum free throws gave the Jazz an 86-62 lead after three quarters.
The Jazz started the quarter on an 11-3 run, getting the lead over the 30-point mark for the first time in the night. Kobe returned to make three straight baskets for the Lakers as well as a couple of free throws that upped his total to 27, but he took 23 shots to get there. The Jazz continued to hit shots as the game wound down. Meanwhile the Lakers suffered another injury to a point guard as camp invite Keith Appling left the game clutching his shoulder. Ed Davis played solid down the stretch, but none of it mattered as the Lakers dropped their third straight, this one by a final score of 119-86.[divide]
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