As a reminder, this was indeed a preseason game. That fact was evidenced by marquee players sitting out (Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard, Mo Williams), others registering limited or minimal minutes (Steve Nash), and a litany of obscure names logging fourth quarter playing time. All that said, the Utah Jazz enjoyed a comfortable 114-80 victory over the reloaded Los Angeles Lakers.
Kobe Bryant put on a show for the Anaheim crowd, pumping in 31 of the Lakers' 80 points (39 percent of their total). But, it was thwarted by a nice team performance from the visiting Utah squad.
After dropping their first outing, the Jazz have won three consecutive games to improve to a 3-1 preseason mark.
Offensive balance: Utah struggled to put points on the board early in the outing, but quickly overcame the sluggish start to produce a solid offensive showing. They were an impressive 39-73 (53.4 percent) from the field, while also hitting 27-33 from the charity stripe (81.8 percent). The Jazz bested their counterparts in each quarter.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the night: Seven players scored in double-figures, while four others chipped in eight apiece. No one on the Jazz roster toiled more than Alec Burks’ 23 minutes.
Another welcome sight for Jazz fans: some sharp perimeter marksmanship. Utah hit 9-16 from the three-point line, a 56.3 percent clip. Gordon Hayward, Marvin Williams, Jamaal Tinsley, and Randy Foye each hit a pair of treys.
Defensive momentum: From the get-go, the Utah Jazz squad was active, energetic and consistent on the defensive end. The reserves were particularly instrumental in gaining, maintaining, and increasing the lead in the second quarter, fueled by their defensive effort. They excelled in the hustle stats, finishing with 12 steals and seven blocked shots as a team.
Welcome to the newcomers: A few new Jazzmen enjoyed their best outings of the preseason. Free agent signee Foye, who entered the game a woeful 1-17 through the first three games, put in a solid performance. His line: 10 points (4-9 from the field), 3 assists, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals. He also nailed a pair of three-pointers, one of the main reasons Utah inked him.
Second-round pick Kevin Murphy looked natural on the court. He made smooth moves on both ends of the court and displayed a silky jumper. The rookie shooting guard had eight points, one more than he had totaled in the entire preseason.
Other observations: Halfway through the preseason, there are some telling signs to note:
- The time may be running out for some free agent invitees. Neither big man Brian Butch nor swingman Trey Gilder entered the game, despite the blowout. Point guard Chris Quinn and forward Darnell Jackson both appear to be ahead in the pecking order.
- Tinsley started in place of the injured Mo Williams and continued to have an excellent preseason. He could be the primary back-up point guard to start the season.
- Paul Millsap, who missed the weekend’s games due to his grandmother’s passing, came right back into the starting lineup.
David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also blogs for the Utah Jazz website. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.
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