The Lakers are an unpredictable bunch, they will have surprise wins against good opponents, are capable of getting blown out by anyone, and at times they will struggle with the lesser lights of the league.
The Lakers lost to the Utah Jazz 105-103 on the road, in what could be described as a giveaway.
Pau Gasol didn’t play because of a respiratory infection, but it shouldn’t have affected the outcome of this game against the woeful Jazz.
In the first quarter Chris Kaman did what Chris Kaman does, he scored 8 points. Kaman appears more reliable than Gasol as both a low post threat and rim protector. Jordan Farmar bounced back from an uneven game against the Miami Heat with 7 points to begin the game. In addition, he ran the offense crisply and provided plenty of open looks for his teammates, unfortunately the Lakers were cold from outside early.Utah led 25-23 after 1.
In the second, Xavier Henry scored 7 quick points to open the period, which brought the Lakers the lead, 36-32 at the 7:22 mark. For Utah, Derrick Favors and Jeremy Evans attacked the rim for easy scores in the paint setting up opening up looks for Trey Burke and Gordon Heyward. Utah led at the half 55-52.
In the third quarter Nick Young exploded for 13 points on an array of mid range jumpers and dribble drives. As he showed during a stretch against Lebron James on Christmas Day, when Young gets hot he can’t be guarded by one player. He finished with 21 points in 28 minutes.Despite Young’s outburst, defensively the Lakers couldn’t corall Gordon Heyward or the Jazz and trailed 83-81 after the third.
The Lakers went cold to start the 4th quarter, having stretches where they couldn’t find scoring. As a result, they played catch up most of the quarter, trailing 97-90 with 4:50 remaining. Nick Young fouled out with 5:45 to go and hurt the team down the stretch. Jordan Hill scored 8 of the Lakers final 11 points to lead a comeback which tied the game at 99-99 with 2:47 to go. A couple of quick lapses late allowed the Jazz to jump out again to a 4 point lead.
Young’s absence led to some indecisiveness of where to go with the ball. Despite the mistakes, Jordan Hill was able to make a couple of plays and tie the game at 103-103 with :18 seconds remaining. Gordon Hayward made a hard drive and missed the layup but Derrick Favors followed the shot with a dunk off the miss.The Jazz led 105-103 with 2 seconds to go. Jodie Meeks missed a deep three at the buzzer and the Lakers gave away another winnable game.
At 13-17 the Lakers are quickly approaching do or die time if they realistically want to make the playoffs. The Western Conference is too good to fall below .500 for long. Jordan Farmar looked good with 16 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists, and 3 steals. Chris Kaman had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Jordan Hill had 16 points and 9 rebounds in 23 minutes. Xavier Henry had an efficient 12 points on 5-7 shooting. Jodie Meeks struggled and it was costly in a nip and tuck game. Wesley Johnson was forgettable, there were no stats to mention.
For Utah, Gordon Hayward was dominant with 24 points and 9 assists.Derrick Favors poured in 18 points and 14 rebounds, and rookie Trey Burke was uneven with 14 points,7 assists, and 7 turnovers.
The Lakers have lost 4 in a row for the first time this season but return home for a 4 game homestand starting with the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday.