As expected, the Utah Jazz attacked in the paint early. Marvin Williams started off with a 3-point shot and Derrick Favors took multiple shots in the painted area. This got Utah off to a 7-0 start. The Lakers settled down. In the first quarter, they began the game with four straight 3-point shots to take a 12-11 lead. The onslaught continued. Chris Kaman became the go-to-guy on a series of pick and roll situations. His post play and midrange jumpshot got going. Utah settled for jumpshots. Amazingly, this led to a 27-5 run. The Lakers were active. Steve Blake came out with a few great plays, but it was Mike D’Antoni’s favortism for the pick and roll which lead to the huge scoring run. At the end of the first quarter, the Lakers were up 27-18.
During the 2nd quarter, Utah came back. Alec Burks and Jeremy Evans continued offensive aggression. Burks attacked the paint and got to the free throw line six times in a span of three minutes, surprisingly, hitting just one free throw. Evans provided some energy on the glass. But, it was Enes Kanter who decided to face up Robert Sacre in isolation and hit three straight jumpshots, all from midrange. The entire 2nd quarter became a scoring run for the Utah Jazz. Steve Blake and Steve Nash simply could not generate offense. Shawne Williams and Chris Kaman got tapped on a few midrange shots, but the Jazz owned the quarter with a 32-10 run.
At the half, the score was 48-37.
The third quarter started with a little spurt and cut the lead to six points. Gordon Hayward struggled early, but finally started to hit stride in the 3rd. He hit a couple of three-pointers and had a few chances attacking the basket. Wesley Johnson did his best to exploit defensive mismatches. He had a few breakaway attempts in transition, and a fabulous off-ball cut for a an aerial layup. His confidence grew in the 3rd quarter, but his heat check shots didn’t drop.
Into the 4th quarter, it was obvious that the ankle sprain Marshall got in transition and Steve Blake’s elbow were both bothersome. Marshall started attempting shots out of the context of his talent of spotting up. He has yet to hit a midrange shot off the dribble. Blake hit a three-pointer, the first made three by the team since the 1st quarter. In the end, the Lakers were overwhelmed by the athleticism of the Jazz. Jeremy Evans hit several midrange jumpers. Kanter took care of the defensive backboard. Chris Kaman took a high volume of shots in isolation and made less than half. While the shots are within his skill set, the broken rhythm on the offensive end was overwhelming. He finished with 25 points and 14 rebounds.
The Utah Jazz pulled away with a win, 96 to 79.
If Steve Blake and Kendall Marshall are not good to go after All-Star break, Darius Johnson-Odom, Pierre Jackson, and possibly Manny Harris are available. Pierre is the best talented scoring point guard at the NBDL level.