ANAHEIM, Calif. — The way the preseason is going, the Utah Jazz might ask the NBA schedule-maker to squeeze the Los Angeles Lakers into their regular season slate a few more times.
For the second time in four nights, the Jazz took it to the Lakers on Tuesday, beating Kobe Bryant & Co. 114-80 at the Honda Center.
It's just an exhibition game, right?
Of course. But the Jazz — and their fans, no doubt — will take big wins over the Lakers anytime they can get 'em.
"It feels good to get the win no matter what it is," Jazz shooting guard Gordon Hayward said before adding a qualifying statement. "But, it is just preseason. I think we accomplished what we came here to do and that was get better as a team. "
Utah and its fans only hope this preseason trend continues, especially the part where the visitors led the winless Lakers by 41 points in the fourth quarter. Not only that, but this was the third straight win over a Western Conference contender for the Jazz, who began the stretch with a home victory over Oklahoma City.
The Lakers (0-4) played without two members of their vaunted starting five, with Pau Gasol taking the night off and Dwight Howard still on the mend from back surgery.
Utah's opponent looked like anything but the Lakers for part of the night, especially when the lineup included Steve Blake and Jodie Meeks with lesser-knowns like Devin Ebanks, Ronnie Aguilar and Reeves Nelson.
Because of that, Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin somewhat downplayed the blowout nature. He did see enough improvement in his own 3-1 squad to please him about his players' effort and progress, though.
"The opponent, they're not full speed. These aren't their regular guys and their regular rotation," Corbin said. "We want to see where we are in our development. That's more important than anything else, and I thought we showed some good things tonight."
From the end of the first quarter on, the Jazz beat the Lakers in every facet of the game — from outside shooting (9-for-16 from 3-point range), overall execution (53.4 percent shooting) and hustle (outrebounded the Lakers 44-28 to go with 12 steals).
"We just worked together," said Jazz guard Randy Foye, who broke out of a preseason slump by hitting 2 of 3 from deep. "That was the biggest thing tonight. The first unit set it off and we just came in there and capitalized on the lead they built for us."
After starting sluggishly with Jamaal Tinsley filling in for point guard Mo Williams (groin injury), the Jazz turned a one-point lead midway through the first quarter into a 26-15 lead heading into the second.
And that was just the beginning of the one-sided night.
Another big factor for the Jazz was how they got their transition game rolling — much to the pleasure of the coaching staff that has emphasized this type of pick-up-the-pace action for two weeks.
"I thought the second group did a better job than we did in the first quarter," Corbin said. "Randy Foye came in and we advanced the ball a little bit. We got some early baskets there, the tempo of the game picked up a little bit. When it's going good for us that way, we want to make sure we continue to take advantage of it."
And they did that.
The Jazz were remarkably good in spreading the ball around, with seven players reaching double figures in scoring and another four chipping in with eight points apiece. All 14 players who saw action scored.
Gordon Hayward led the team with 13 points, including a breakaway dunk near the end of the third quarter after he and Tinsley forced Bryant into a turnover. Al Jefferson and Burks threw down a dozen, while Marvin Williams, Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter and Foye all scored 10 points apiece.
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