In a battle between shorthanded rosters, the Los Angeles Lakers outlasted the Utah Jazz in overtime, winning 127-115, although it certainly wasn’t pretty.
With the Jazz shorthanded in the front court, the Lakers looked to establish Andre Drummond in the paint and he bulled his way to the rim for a basket and free throws early. However, Utah’s 3-point shooting gave them the early edge as they moved the ball around until finding an open shooter.
The Lakers did a much better job in the middle of the quarter of running the Jazz off the 3-point line and forcing them into contested looks from the field. Despite their increased defensive activity, they were unable to cool off Ersan Ilyasova, who was a perfect 5-of-5 from beyond the arc in the first quarter alone. As a result, they went into the second trailing 35-34.
Los Angeles started the second with a smaller lineup that was able to switch defensively, smothering Utah along the perimeter. However, several defensive lapses in a row allowed the Jazz to maintain a slight advantage.
The lead toggled back and forth between the two teams as each side was able to answer after each made basket. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope got going from the floor, hitting a few jumpers down the stretch that allowed Los Angeles to go into the half leading 65-62.
Caldwell-Pope led all scorers with 18 points at the break, hitting 5-of-9 3-point attempts. Meanwhile, former Laker Jordan Clarkson helped keep Utah in it with 13 first-half points.
Drummond’s quick hands were on display at the top of the third as he came up with two steals that led to a pair of dunks in transition. Drummond continued to score for the Lakers, barreling his way to the basket and later leading the break for another dunk.
Kyle Kuzma finally got going offensively, nailing a three and a turnaround jumper while a Markieff Morris midrange jumper gave L.A. a 10-point lead. The Lakers were also able to stifle the Jazz’s drive-and-kick game and they went into the fourth with a 94-82 lead.
Montrezl Harrell opened up the fourth with an exclamation point, lifting off for a vicious putback dunk over Ilyasova. The Jazz were able to get back within single digits though due to a Laker scoring drought, with the latter struggling to take care of the basketball.
Morris was able to knock down a three that snapped Utah’s 15-0 run and ended Los Angeles’ scoring drought. Schroder led the way on both ends in the closing minutes, playing stellar individual defense and hitting clutch shots. The Lakers found themselves down two with less than 10 seconds left after a Clarkson three, but Schroder got all the way to the rim for a layup, forcing overtime.
Schroder continued his strong play, finding Kuzma for a corner three and Drummond for a lob that gave L.A. a five-point lead. The Lakers did not have the cleanest close to the game, but they did just enough to end up with the win after running away with it in the overtime period.
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