Too many stars for the Jazz.
Blinded by the lights of Hollywood, Utah's players allowed the previously ice-cold Lakers to smoke past them for a 102-84 victory Friday.
GUARDS: It's not too characteristic of Jamaal Tinsley to attempt more than a half-dozen shots, let alone 12. On Friday night, his 12 attempts certainly didn't help considering that the veteran only made three of them. Steve Nash (15 points on 6-of-11 shooting) didn't necessarily outplay Tinsley, however, considering his assist-to-turnover ratio (2-to-3 compared to Tinsley's 6-to-1).
Amazing that Kobe Bryant took just eight shots until there were six minutes left in the game — and perhaps even more remarkable considering he made five. It's not like he was gun-shy because he wasn't nailing the target. For that matter, he only took two more, which hardly mattered given that a blowout had ensued by the second half of the fourth quarter.
Randy Foye found moderate success himself, though his 2-of-5 3-point effort marked an off-night compared to his recent tear beyond the arc. Foye had made 50 percent or more of his 3-point attempts in six straight games, a torrid 21-of-33 stretch. GRADE: C-.
FORWARDS: Neither Paul Millsap (10 points on 5-of-11 shooting, six rebounds, two turnovers) nor Marvin Williams (seven points on 3-of-6 shooting) were special — especially for the former, given his performance Wednesday against Washington (16 points, 15 rebounds, three steals, three assists, two blocks).
They were at least not outdone, however, by either Earl Clark (3-of-8 shooting with foul trouble) or Metta World Peace (17 points). What was odd, however, about World Peace was that he missed all five of his shots within the arc but was 5-of-11 otherwise (the final two attempts were misses but came with the game in hand).
The real killer was Pau Gasol, whose 7-of-8 shooting display was far better than his 43 percent season rate — low, considering his status as a post player. GRADE: C-.
CENTERS: Beside struggling to rotate well or defend Gasol, Al Jefferson (12 points on just 5-of-14 shooting, two turnovers) embarrassed himself against Dwight Howard (17 points on 8-of-12 shooting, 13 rebounds, two blocks). Big Al recently said that he was deserving of All-Star recognition; he should take back every word given his pitiful effort Friday evening, as the Laker star post players ran circles around him. No, Al Jefferson, you are not deserving of All-Star status. GRADE: D.
BENCH: The Jazz reserves won the battle of the benches, outscoring Los Angeles' group 39-32. Derrick Favors (14 points on 5-of-5 shooting) was wonderful offensively, though he could have been more helpful on the other end against the likes of Gasol, who often proved too versitile for the 21-year-old. Gordon Hayward (13 points on 5-of-10 shooting) was also a spark offensively, though it again came when the Jazz lost by double-digits. Utah could use more decent scoring nights from Hayward in tight games. GRADE: C+.
OVERALL: Utah's loss to the Lakers demonstrated how much they need more top weapons, as Los Angeles has (even if it hasn't utilized them all that well so far this season). For instance, Jefferson demonstrated why he can't be his team's top scoring option if he expects the Jazz to compete each contest with the league's top teams.
Even if he doesn't have the same talent as the Lakers do, Tyrone Corbin has not utilized what he has, either. For instance, Favors cannot shoot a perfect mark from the field — and not be in foul trouble, an oft issue for him — yet play just half the game with about one-fourth of the minutes coming when the game had been decided. DeMarre Carroll's mere two minutes, after playing 10 or more in 10 straight and in 29 of 31 games, epitomizes how Corbin still doesn't know how to operate the rotation more than halfway through the season. Then again, Corbin can't force his players to play defense: The Lakers shot 54 percent. GRADE: C-.
Rhett Wilkinson studies interesting stuff at Utah State University and is the co-founder of Aggie BluePrint, USU's first student magazine. A Deseret Digital Media sports intern, he can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @wilklogan
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