Once again, the Utah Jazz faced a heavily depleted Los Angeles Lakers team. But unlike their matchup last week, the Lakers came out firing on all cylinders and the Jazz simply could not catch up, despite a solid second-half push. Los Angeles put on an offensive clinic en route to a 110-99 victory.
The Jazz looked vulnerable and timid in the first quarter as the Lakers overwhelmed them almost immediately. L.A. featured yet another new starting line-up, one of many this disjointed season, and played with lots of energy and smarts. When the dust settled, the Lakers owned a 30-12 lead after one quarter. Utah went on multiple runs, cutting the lead severely in the second half. But it simply could not get over the hump.
Utah fell to 11-25, while the Lakers moved up to 14-19.
The Marshall Plan: When the team waived Jamaal Tinsley in November, there was one national report that mentioned the Jazz having interest in then free agent point guard Kendall Marshall. Two months later, at least for one evening, Utah was probably wishing it had snagged him.
With veterans Steve Nash, Steve Blake and Jordan Farmar still injured — as well as combo guard Xavier Henry — Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni went with the recently signed Marshall as the starting point guard. And Marshall definitely produced. He came out right away making a trey to start the game and just kept going throughout the evening. Marshall registered career-highs with 20 points, 15 assists and six rebounds. This lone performance most likely ensures the Lakers guarantee his contract for the duration of the season.
Ironically, Marshall’s previous career-best 13 assists came in a March 2013 game versus the Utah Jazz.
Gasol’s return: Lost in the Marshall hoopla was the tremendous effect former All-Star Pau Gasol had on the game. After missing some time, Gasol was in prime form against the Jazz, performing well on both ends of the court. He repeatedly took his Utah defenders to task, scoring on a variety of shifty offensive moves. When it was said and done, the big man nearly had a triple-double, finishing the night with 23 points, 17 big rebounds and eight assists, along with three blocked shots.
This and that:
• Just one week ago when these two teams played, the Lakers started Chris Kaman, Shawne Williams, Jordan Farmar, Jodie Meeks and Wesley Johnson. On Friday, only Meeks remained in the opening five.
• Both teams featured six players scoring in the double-digits.
• Trey Burke’s shot was errant all evening, as the rookie guard misfired on all eight 3-point attempts.
• Behind Marshall’s effort, the Lakers assisted on 33 of their 42 made field goals — a stellar 78.6 percent.
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.
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