Tuesday’s match-up between the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Lakers featured two teams with a combined 35 wins. With fan bases of each squad keeping an eye on the upcoming draft, the Jazz came out on top with a 96-79 victory.
It was a game of early runs, but by midway in the second quarter, it was all decided. Utah simply outhustled, outshot and outperformed its opponent. When the evening concluded, both teams had 18 wins on the season.
The Lakers were missing a lot of firepower in Pau Gasol, Kobe Bryant, Nick Young, Jordan Farmar and Jodie Meeks. Although Steve Nash started the game, he sat out the entire second half.
Bench energy: After the Lakers had gone on an early 19-0 run, the Jazz bench came in and changed the entire tenor of the game. With Utah facing a 15-point deficit, the reserves crashed the party with tremendous energy. They spurred the 32-10 second quarter that ultimately led to the game’s final result.
Alec Burks had another stellar game. His driving game was a big catalyst for the Jazz’s success. He repeatedly took the ball to the hoop, which either produced baskets or trips to the line. Burks ended up going 8 of 11 from the floor and 7 of 11 from the free-throw line en route to a team-high 24 points.
Jeremy Evans also injected life into the game, and did so on both ends of the court. He connected on 7 of 10 shots, including some smooth jump shots. He finished with 14 points, five rebounds, three steals and a pair of blocked shots.
Enes Kanter was hitting from the perimeter early on and cleaned the glass throughout.
All five reserves had +/- marks of +10 or better, with three being +21 or higher.
Battle of the boards: With the depleted Los Angeles roster, Utah had no difficulties controlling the boards. Led by Kanter’s 11 and Favors’ 10 caroms, the Jazz outrebounded the Lakers 55-40. Seven Utah players had four or more rebounds, while six had at least two on the offensive end.
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- The two teams combined for 44 assists and just 22 turnovers.
- Chris Kaman, who seems to always play well against the Jazz, tallied 25 points and 14 rebounds. He hoisted 16 shots in the first half alone.
- Kendall Marshall, who has been a midseason revelation, had seven assists off the bench after averaging 11.5 per game as a starter.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also writes for Salt City Hoops (ESPN's Jazz affiliate). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.