Utah Jazz basketball: Aggressive Jazz team tops the Lakers in 4th road win
LOS ANGELES — DeMarre Carroll had a series of plays Sunday that summed up the Utah Jazz's night at the Staples Center.
On one end, the lively forward caught a fast-break pass, spun toward the hoop and made a ridiculously tough circus shot. Seconds later, the ever-active reserve tapped a pass out of bounds, knocking a beer out of a courtside fan's hand in the process.
The adult beverage wasn't the only thing from Los Angeles that was knocked out of place.
Thanks to a terrific team effort and another offensive outburst — when hustle and shots like Carroll's seemed to be the norm for the visitors — the Jazz dropped the Lakers 117-110 for their best road win of the season.
"That's very fun," Carroll said.
The Jazz were having so much fun — a word repeated in the locker room — you would've thought they were playing the Toronto Raptors again. Only people have actually heard of the stars on this Lakers team.
Two nights after exploding for 131 points and hitting 13 3-pointers in the rout of the Raptors, the Jazz treated a stunned Staples crowd to a Showtime-like performance. Utah's explosive night included 54.2 percent shooting, interior domination to the tune of a 54-34 points-in-the-paint edge, a 19-4 transition superiority and a reel of highlight plays.
"If we play inside-out, that's what happens," Jazz forward Paul Millsap said.
"It's fun when you're winning," Jazz center Al Jefferson added, "especially when you're winning the right way, getting the stops, rebounding, coming in and beating a team like the Lakers on their home floor."
The home crowd, which included usual celebrities like Jack Nicholson, Maria Shriver and Mario Lopez, was about as thrilled as the front-row fan that lost an expensive beer while witnessing the Lakers stumble to an unfathomable 9-12 record.
For the Jazz, this was their fourth consecutive victory over the Lakers, their third win a row overall and improved their improving-but-rough road record to 4-9.
The most fun part was that almost everybody who played was involved.
Taking advantage of an injured and absent Pau Gasol, Paul Millsap scored 24 points and grabbed nine rebounds, and helped Utah get off to a quick 8-0 start. Mo Williams, facing Chris Duhon instead of the injured Steve Nash or Steve Blake, had a spark-plug night with 22 points and nine assists. Big Al added a double-double of 14 points and 11 boards against Dwight Howard (11 points, 16 rebounds), playing again after missing a game with back spasms.
Then there was the cavalry crew. Enes Kanter, a game after tearing it up in his only NBA start, was a beast with 14 points and six rebounds. Gordon Hayward contributed 14 points in his latest strong effort against the Lakers, who are in a world of hurt in multiple ways.
Jamaal Tinsley directed traffic nicely, and Carroll scored 10 points and provided the Jazz with an unquantifiable amount of spirit before fouling out in the fourth quarter.
Kobe Bryant got his points, scoring a game-high 34 to lead a group of five Lakers in double digits. But thanks to combined efforts, the Jazz owned this night, getting six double-figure performances and gutsy play from 10 guys who stepped on the court.
"The entire bench, man. The guys come in, and this group of guys they don't complain about their minutes," Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. "They come out and they want to show that they deserve more minutes by their play on the floor."
The Jazz bench outscored the Lakers' second-unit 43-38, nullifying Jordan Hill's career-best 17 points and helping Utah build a 15-point lead before L.A. rallied.
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