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New FSM Essential Recap: Lakers vs Jazz- Game 76

Franchise Sports Media

Los Angeles Lakers (31-44) | Utah Jazz (47-29)

The Lakers fell again last night to Utah, taking the loss 122-109 without Lebron James.


Lakers vs Jazz
Photo Credit: Jeffrey Swinger/USA TODAY Sports

With the missing pieces of the big three nearing return for the Lakers, in Lebron James and Anthony Davis, the defeats continue for Los Angeles. Many experts had the Lakers in the Finals at the start of the season, and now they are fighting for the ten seed.

Dwight Howard was the leader in offense in the first half last night for the Lakers, getting a rare start.  He got things kicked off by scoring the first 7 points of the game for LA, while Donovan Mitchell started with energy on the other side, hitting two threes on eight early points, leading two 7-2 runs with Utah up.

The Jazz would maintain the lead in the first, but Malik Monk and Wenyen Gabriel kept it close.  Monk brought it to 3 in the quarter with a deep bucket before Jordan Clarkson responded with one of his own.  Gabriel then completed an and-1 on a putback dunk, but the Jazz kept holding the edge.  Clarkson and Rudy Gobert nearly sent the Jazz up 11 into the second with last-minute buckets, but a D.J. Augustin three and a Russell Westbrook floater brought it to 6 before the buzzer.

Talen Horton-Tucker and Westbrook brought it to a one-score game early in the second with buckets, but the Jazz remained resilient.  After Carmelo Anthony got it to just 1 for LA with a jumper, Mitchell and Clarkson led a 10-4 run to re-establish the lead.  While the Jazz kept up on offense, a sequence of 7 quick points for Dwight Howard kept things close.

Howard had a very productive half of 15 points, but the Jazz decided to pull away again towards the end. One final 11-4 run led by Rudy Gobert corrected Howard’s sequence for Utah, giving them a double-digit lead.  The frustrating formation on defense for Frank Vogel and the Lakers struck again, lacking the depth to stop the opponent’s first option.  Mitchell had 19 in the half with four threes, each time pulling up with ease.

Westbrook had another excellent first half for the Lakers with 12 points on fewer shot attempts, but it was clear that  James and Davis were sorely missed. The veteran has improved, averaging over 20 points per game this past week.  Unfortunately, there was just not enough offense at the time for the Lakers, with little hope for the second half.  Lack of strength in 3-point shooting was the primary cause of their faulty offense. The Lakers were 3-14 in the half against a team with more than enough firepower from deep.

The Lakers kept things close for most of the second, but the Jazz pulled away to a 10 point lead by the break at 66-56.


Lakers vs Jazz
Photo Credit: Rick Borwmer/AP

After Mike Conley got the second half started with a three for Utah, Howard responded with a highlight dunk to keep it at 10.  It led to a 9-2 run with Malik Monk following with a three with five quick points.  While Utah began to pull away as expected, Westbrook continued to play hard by completing an and-1 with a tough jumper on the foul.  Russ’s heroics inside brought the game to within five points.

Mitchell got another scoring streak started to end the third, and a 15-6 run would put them back up 13.  Westbrook reached 20 points in the game while trying to cut the lead down. Clarkson and Mitchell were the problems last night, however, combining for nearly 50 points in the first three quarters.  The Lakers would unwillingly catch their most significant deficit in this game, going into the fourth down by 14.

The final quarter played out similarly for Laker Nation, with the purple and gold trailing their way to their third straight loss and 3-7 over the last 10.  These consistent losses are not just signs of concern; they’re establishing evidence of LA more than likely being out of playoff contention.  Gobert was not to be stopped last night, especially in the fourth, to finish with 25 points on 9-11 shooting.  Mitchell only had 2 points in the quarter, but the lead was enough for Utah falling short of 30 points with 29.  Had the Lakers seen Davis and James play, things may have been different, but last night’s game resulted in the same misfortune that Lakers fans have been seeing far too often this season.

Howard and Westbrook reached 20 points to carry the offense with respectable performances that were sadly just not enough. The Jazz finished up by 13, handing down yet another loss to the Lakers.


The Lakers return home to face the Pelicans tonight at 7:30, streaming on NBA TV.

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Duncan Dye – Franchise Sports Media

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