Tuesday’s tilt with the Los Angeles Lakers may become a familiar formula for the Utah Jazz this season. While the Jazz hustled, gave a solid effort and were in the game well into the fourth quarter, they ultimately succumbed to the Lakers, losing 108-94.
In short, Utah looked every bit the part of a rebuilding team. The Jazz saw some promising development from several players, played with a positive energy and kept things close for 42 minutes. Conversely, they made naïve mistakes, missed a slew of free throws, suffered through some crushing runs by the Lakers and ran out of gas in the end. These could be prevalent storylines throughout the 2013-14 campaign.
The Jazz lost their fifth straight preseason outing, falling to a 1-5 record.
Defensive struggles: Utah started the evening very well defensively, taking an early double-figure lead. At the end of one quarter, the Jazz held a 26-18 advantage over Los Angeles. It was downhill from that point forward, as Utah’s confused defense allowed the Lakers’ offense to simply take flight.
Led by a corps of reserve wings in Wesley Johnson, Jodie Meeks and Xavier Henry, L.A. went on a torrid 16-1 run during a mere three minutes and 34 seconds to open the second quarter and never looked back. The Lakers scored 90 points over the final three periods, including 33- and 32-points stanzas.
When the dust settled, the home team finished with 47.4 percent shooting from the floor, including 10 three-pointers in 25 attempts. Los Angeles also connected on 26 of 29 free throws (89.7 percent).
Encouraging signs: While on the losing end, Utah was able to see some strong efforts from its core youngsters. Fresh off his four-year extension, big man Derrick Favors showed why the Jazz front office made such an effort to lock him up long-term. He was so-so offensively but owned the glass and played his usual stout defense. He finished the night with 10 points, 13 rebounds and three assists in just 28 minutes.
Gordon Hayward’s shot, too, was errant, but he displayed the well-rounded game that may also garner an extension before the Oct. 31 deadline. Along with 15 points, the swingman had four assists, four rebounds and four steals.
Alec Burks had been mired in a four-game shooting slump but managed to break out with a nice performance. The athletic guard totaled 14 points (five of 11 shots), six assists and five rebounds, with just one turnover in 29 minutes. More importantly, he led Utah’s fourth-quarter charge that brought them within two points of L.A.
This and that:
• The Lakers bench accounted for 74 of the team’s 108 points. Led by returning point guard Jordan Farmer, L.A. had four reserves reach double-digit scoring. Every bench player had a positive +/- mark.
• In his attempt to stick on the roster, veteran Brian Cook paced the Jazz with 18 points, including three treys. He was aggressive offensively, which was a nice spark off the bench.
• Utah made just one of its first eight free throws.
• Big men Andris Biedrins and Dominic McGuire were the only healthy players who did not play.
• The Jazz hit five of their first six three-pointers, but went on to miss 17 of their remaining attempts.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also blogs for Salt City Hoops and Utah Jazz 360. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.