What had the makings of a blowout was a relatively close contest through three quarters before the Utah Jazz pulled away for a 112-97 victory who secured a spot in the Western Conference playoffs. Conversely, the Los Angeles Lakers have now dropped four of their last five heading into a back-to-back this week.
After the Lakers went into halftime down just six points, they went on a 6-0 run early in the third to pull to within 56-53. But Donovan Mitchell then began to take over and the Jazz closed the third quarter on a strong run to take an 87-62 lead to the fourth.
They controlled the final 12 minutes of action, stretching their lead to as many as 22 points. Mitchell finished with a game-high 28 points and flirted with a triple-double with nine rebounds and eight assists. Meanwhile, Joe Ingles contributed 22 points and 10 assists.
Before allowing the Lakers to hang around, the Jazz made their first three shots to jump out to a 7-0 lead in the blink of an eye. It later grew to 16-4 and they led by as many as 15 points in the first quarter.
But a strong showing from their bench helped the Lakers trim their deficit to 30-21 heading into the second quarter. Josh Hart and Tyler Ennis continued to spark L.A., with Julius Randle also finding the bottom of the net on drives he’d succeeded in this year but had led to misses in recent games.
Hart led the Lakers with 25 points, Randle had 17 points while adding seven rebounds and four assists. Ennis finished with a career-high 22 points to go along with six rebounds in 29 minutes off the bench. It was not a banner night for Brook Lopez, who missed all 10 of his shot attempts.
For Hart, it was his first time with back-to-back 20-point games, and he finished just shy of matching his career high of 26 points.
As has been the case since the end of March, the Lakers were without Lonzo Ball (left knee contusion) and Brandon Ingram (concussion). They were joined by Kyle Kuzma, who sat due to a sprained left ankle.