The Los Angeles Lakers hosted the Utah Jazz on Friday night looking to build some momentum with a third straight win after starting 0-5.
Unfortunately though, they put up their worst defensive performance of the season as the Jazz were hitting shots left and right to come away with a 130-116.
Troy Brown Jr., who is becoming a mainstay in the Lakers’ starting lineup, kicked off the scoring with a 3-pointer. LeBron James then found Anthony Davis for an alley-oop to give L.A. an early 5-0 lead before Kelly Olynyk responded with a 3 of his own.
As has been the case since he moved to the bench, Russell Westbrook came in and made an immediate impact for the Lakers with a steal and then a transition assist to Brown to give the latter seven points. Davis also dominated against the Jazz’s smaller frontcourt with seven early points of his own.
In what was a high scoring first frame, Westbrook himself got in on the scoring as well with back-to-back 3s. Davis also drilled one to continue his strong frame with 14 points.
On the other end though, the Lakers had no answer for Lauri Markkanen who already reached double figures in the first to give his team a 40-34 lead at the end of the quarter.
After missing his first four shots, James got going in the second with a layup and then an assist to Austin Reaves to a 3. That was the start of a 10-0 run to help the Lakers regain the lead.
After a Jazz timeout though, Collin Sexton drilled a pair of triples of his own to lead a 10-2 run for them as both teams continued their hot shooting.
The Lakers’ defensive struggles were really apparent in the first half as they deficit stretched to double digits after a Jordan Clarkson 3. Overall, the Jazz shot 60.8% in the first 24 minutes and took a 75-62 lead into the locker room.
The halftime break didn’t cool down the Jazz as Clarkson came out and immediately drilled another 3. Lonnie Walker IV picked up his aggressiveness offensively though, driving to the rim with a purpose and finishing with ease on multiple occasions.
Westbrook brought energy to the Crypto.com Arena once again late in the third quarter by hitting another 3. He then finished an alley-oop from Reaves and came up with a steal, finding walker in transition for another thunderous dunk.
After once trailing by 16, the Westbrook-led run to end the third quarter got the Lakers back within five at 100-95 with one frame to go.
In his return to L.A., former Laker guard Talen Horton-Tucker made his presence known with five straight points to begin the fourth quarter. The Jazz build their lead back to double digits midway through the quarter, requiring the Lakers to make one last run if they wanted to come out on top.
Unfortunately though, Utah continued to build their lead from there as the Lakers seemed to run out of gas late in the defeat.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!