After the 2019-20 NBA season opener loss, the Los Angeles Lakers needed to bounce back but in their way was a Utah Jazz team that many pegged as a potential championship contender during the 2019 NBA offseason.
However, LeBron James and the rest of the team sent a message to the rest of the league that they would be amongst the NBA’s elite with a 95-86 win, which officially marked their first in the James-Anthony Davis era.
James led the way with 32 points, seven rebounds, and 10 assists while the Lakers got a huge boost off the bench from Troy Daniels who scored 15 points with four three-pointers, but it was the team’s defense that was the star.
The Lakers held the Jazz to 20 points or less in each of the first three quarters, forced 22 turnovers, and held them to 41.4 percent shooting from the field overall. They also grabbed 11 offensive rebounds which helped offset their own poor shooting and Anthony Davis staked an early claim for 2019-20 NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
Along with 21 points and seven rebounds, Davis recorded five blocks and two steals against the reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Rudy Gobert. Dwight Howard also added a pair of blocks and steals as well.
Donovan Mitchell led the Jazz with 24 points as only three other teammates scored in double figures.
While the Lakers have struggled with inconsistency on offense, the defense has been among the best in the league and was the staple of this team this season. This game against Utah was the first proof of just how dominant this team could be on that end of the floor and kicked off a seven-game winning streak that jumpstarted the season.