The Lakers have struggled recently, falling to 13-16 after their recent three game losing streak. Tonight they get an excellent chance to start turning things around as they head to Utah to take on the Jazz who currently have the second worst record in the NBA.
The Lakers will be without Pau Gasol due to a respiratory infection and will need a full team effort if they plan on picking up a victory tonight as the Jazz play hard every single night.
The Lakers got off to a quick start thanks to six early points from Chris Kaman and a couple of threes by Farmar and Meeks. Turnovers and offensive rebounds allowed the Jazz to get off to a nice start offensively as they attacked the basket early. Derrick Favors grabbed three early offensive rebounds, but an excellent backdoor layup by Meeks would give the Lakers a two point lead midway through the quarter. Nick Young would enter the game and immediately hit Kaman on a beautiful lob pass. Both teams with some ugly possessions and turnovers, but Farmar’s five straight points would keep the Lakers on top by a point. The Lakers had some struggles at the free throw line near the end of the quarter, and an offensive rebound and layup by Enes Kanter would give the Jazz a 25-23 lead after the first.
Xavier Henry came out in attack mode to start the second with a couple of layups, but the Lakers failure to limit the Jazz to one opportunity continually hurt them as Jeremy Evans grabbed multiple offensive rebounds for the Jazz. Nick Young continued his great play of late with a three point play and an absolutely ferocious jam over former slam dunk champion Jeremy Evans that is sure to be on every highlight reel tonight. Henry would follow that with a three pointer and Kaman with a beautiful fadeaway to give the Lakers a four point lead. Chris Kaman continued his excellent play in the first half as he and Farmar worked the pick and roll to perfection in the first half. The Lakers got the Jazz in the penalty and were able to take numerous trips to the free throw line, though the results were mixed as the Lakers missed six free throws in the half. The Jazz would take all of the momentum back at the end of the half thanks to a 9-2 run led by seven straight points by Trey Burke to end the half. The Jazz would lead 55-52 at the end of the half. Chris Kaman lead the way in the first half with 15 points and eight rebounds while Farmar had 12, four rebounds, and 4 assists.
The Jazz would quickly push their halftime lead to eight thanks to three pointers by Hayward and Burke forcing the Lakers to quickly use a timeout. The two man game of Chris Kaman and Jordan Farmar continued to be the Lakers best form of offense as they quickly cut the lead to four. Nick Young would then take the game over as he scored nine quick points and assisted on another basket as the Lakers would take a three point lead before Gordon Hayward decided to get things going for the Jazz with a couple of quick baskets. Young would commit a couple of turnovers but then get it right back again as he would score 13 points in the third quarter alone. Two late Alec Burks free throws would give the Jazz a two point lead at the end of the quarter.
The two teams traded baskets to start the quarter but the Lakers offense failed them at the start of this quarter. Jordan Hill’s activity was on display as he continued to play excellent defense, grab every rebound near him, and converted a couple of baskets to keep the Lakers close early in the fourth. Young and Henry would hit back-to-back jumpers to cut the Jazz lead to one midway through the fourth but the Lakers failure to rebound the basketball prevented them from taking the lead. A couple free throws and a Hayward fastbreak dunk later and the Jazz were right back up six. The Lakers were dealt a huge blow when Young picked up his sixth foul midway through the quarter with the Lakers down seven. The Lakers would immediately go on a 6-0 run led by Jordan Hill and the Jazz lead would be cut to one. A Hayward basket would push the Jazz up three but Meeks would hit a three pointer to tie the game with only two minutes remaining. The Lakers were on the wrong side of a crucial five point swing in which Meeks would miss a fast break layup and Hayward would hit a three pointer on the other end. A Hayward free throw pushed the Jazz lead to four with one minute left.