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Utah Jazz instant analysis: Jazz win spirited, energetic contest against L.A. Lakers

Published: Monday, July 6 2015 9:32 p.m. MDT

Utah Jazz power forward Paul Millsap (24) knocks the ball from from Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard (12) in the fourth quarter during an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Salt Lake City. The Jazz defeated the Lakers 95-86. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) (Rick Bowmer, AP) Utah Jazz power forward Paul Millsap (24) knocks the ball from from Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard (12) in the fourth quarter during an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Salt Lake City. The Jazz defeated the Lakers 95-86. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer) (Rick Bowmer, AP)

Two struggling 1-3 teams locked horns at EnergySolutions Arena Monday night. And on this night, the home fans went home happy, as the Utah Jazz defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 95-86 in a spirited, energetic contest.

It was again the trio of Jazz newcomers — Mo Williams, Randy Foye and Marvin Williams — who fueled the victory. Foye’s torrid outside shooting continued as he tallied 17 points, including four 3-pointers in the last quarter. Mo Williams had 16 points of his own along with seven assists. And the other Williams played tough defense while contributing 11 points.

Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 29 points.

Hustle stats: Coming off an 0-3 road trip, the Utah Jazz played with great fervor from the get-go, something that was very evident on the stat sheet. The numbers will do the talking:

  • Despite the twin towers of Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol, the Jazz won the battle inside, outscoring the Lakers 44-36 on points in the paint.
  • Going against a team with a lot of veteran legs, Utah pushed the pace to the tune of 15 fast-break points compared to Los Angeles’ seven.
  • While they gambled a bit too much, the Jazz had quick hands Monday evening. Led by Al Jefferson's four thefts, Utah had 12 steals.
  • The Jazz also turned back several shots, finishing with seven blocks. Two of these were the chase-down variety by Gordon Hayward and Randy Foye.
  • Lastly, the Utah bench was dominant, tripling its counterparts’ point total, 36-12.
Body language: The Lakers had a much publicized offseason, landing two superstars in Howard and Steve Nash to pair with Bryant and Gasol. But so far, the additions have not translated into on-court success, one of the early season’s biggest storylines.

While Howard had a decent stat line of 19 points and nine rebounds, he had five turnovers and missed seven free throws. Meanwhile, Nash sat out due to injury.

Gasol really looked uninvolved and hit only 2-of-9 shots for five points and seven rebounds. And while Bryant got his points, he had six miscues. Moreover, his body language was very telling. The L.A. guard appeared frustrated and disinterested for much of the night.

This and That:

  • The Utah centers, Al Jefferson and Enes Kanter, both enjoyed their finest outings of the young season. Jefferson hit several big shots down the stretch en route to 18 points and 10 rebounds. And young Kanter had a season-high nine points in just 13 minutes.
  • The Lakers had only 11 assists while having 18 turnovers.
  • Outside of Foye’s 5-9 3-point shooting night, Utah and Los Angeles combined to go 4-31 from downtown.
  • After racking up 21 points in the season-opener, Marvin Williams had just 19 points in the three games preceding Monday.

David Smith provides instant analysis for Deseret News' Utah Jazz coverage. He works for LDS Philanthropies and also blogs for the Utah Jazz 360 website. He can be reached at mechakucha1@gmail.com or on Twitter at davidjsmith1232.

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