The Utah Jazz fell to the L.A. Lakers 108-94 on Tuesday night at the Staples Center. Despite a 9-0 run to start the game, the Jazz allowed the Lakers to exploit every visible weakness in their game plan in Tuesday's loss.
The Jazz looked fresh and upbeat as they scored several points in transition to start the game, and they held strong throughout the first quarter, capturing a 26-18 lead. That lead quickly diminished as the Lakers outscored the Jazz 33-19 in the second quarter and maintained the lead throughout the rest of the game.
Despite strong efforts from Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks, the Jazz lacked in half-court offensive execution and shot poorly from the free-throw line. Ultimately, this game came down to experience, and the Jazz were outplayed, outhustled and outcoached. Now let's examine and attach a letter grade to the guards, forwards, centers, coaches, referees and overall Lakers team.
Bobby Macey is a social media guru and marketing/PR specialist by day. By night, he's a writer for Deseretnews.com covering the Utah Jazz. Follow him on Twitter @Bobmacey and @utjazznation
Although Alec Burks shined from a point/shooting guard standpoint and contributed 14 points and six assists, the rest of the point guards brought down the overall grade scale due to turnovers and jitters. It was nice to see the starters attack, but once the rookies entered the game, the turnovers began to pile up.
Gordon Hayward attacked the rim and got to the free line on several occasions in Tuesday's loss. He shined as the go-to guy for the Jazz but ultimately went cold down the stretch. Unfortunately for Utah, none of the other forwards could make up for Hayward's cold streak.
Enes Kanter started the game by hitting a 17-foot jumper over Pau Gasol and gave Jazz fans a glimmer of hope for Tuesday's game. Despite further attempts from Kanter to produce offensively, the Lakers' centers caused some discomfort for him and Derek Favors throughout the game.
Favors showed some promising athleticism on the defensive end of the court but much like Kanter, he does not have a "go-to" move, and it's causing confusion in the paint. Despite the starters' best efforts, it was Brian Cook who gave a good name to the Jazz centers Tuesday as he added 18 points coming off the bench.
Jazz fans witnessed something that many basketball lovers would perceive as disgusting coaching while others may refer to it as necessary sacrifice on Tuesday night.
Coach Ty Corbin benched his starters despite it being a one possession game with under five minutes left in the fourth quarter. He played his cards and chose to play Rudy Gobert and other young players all in the name of experience. Even Jazz broadcaster and former player Matt Harpring commented on Corbin's game decisions down the stretch by inferring that Corbin didn't care to win the game but would rather that the young guys gain some good experience.
It seems every sports fan yearns for an opportunity to yell at the TV with a mouthful of comments directed toward the referees at some point during their team's game. Well, the referees didn't give Jazz fans a legitimate reason to be angry with them on Tuesday. The Jazz beat themselves by missing key free-throw attempts and the Lakers outplayed the Jazz in all other regards. In a way, it's somewhat refreshing to know the referees called a nice game.
Once the Lakers caught some steam in the second quarter, they put together a nice game and moved the ball extremely well by taking advantage of Jazz turnovers and making extra passes for easy shots at the rim. Steve Nash and Pau Gasol didn't have to save their team at the Staples Center on Tuesday. All in all, they merely outplayed and outhustled the Utah Jazz.
Well, there it is Jazz fans, another report card dishing out grades to players and coaches like they were assists from the one and only John Stockton.