The Los Angeles Lakers began their five-game home stand tonight vs. the Utah Jazz. The Lakers lost their previous meeting to the Jazz, but this time the game was held at the Staples Center. There is no love between these two teams, and a rivalry has developed over the years. Coming into the game the Lakers had won 16 consecutive home games vs. the Jazz, and they hoped to keep the streak going.
The Lakers’ last home game was on MLK Day, and the Staples Center crowd was excited to see their team back in Los Angeles. The crowd was fired up and the Lakers fed off the energy of the LA faithful.
The Lakers began the game firing on all cylinders, and they were playing with very high intensity; five minutes into the game, the Lakers opened up a five point lead, 12-7. The Lakers continued to attack the basket and they were taking advantage of the Jazz’s lack of size. It was clear that the Lakers would win this game if they pounded the ball inside. The Lakers also got in the open-court and got easy fast break points off multiple Jazz turnovers.
At the end of the first quarter, the Lakers opened up a 15-point lead, 37-22. The Lakers shot 72% from the field and seven players scored in the opening period. As for the Jazz, they shot a lowly 36% and the committed five turnovers.
The Lakers stayed hot in second quarter and they continued to hit their shots. The bench “Renegades” gave the Lakers more energy and they helped expand the already large lead. Shannon Brown and Lamar Odom were playing with great continuity and the duo was carrying the Lakers in the second quarter. With 5:18 left in the half, the Lakers were leading by 21 points, 51-30.
The Lakers were very successful on both ends of the court, and they were dictating the tempo of the game. The Lakers were finding their own shots on offense, and they were forcing the Jazz to take tough shots on defense. At the end of the half, the Lakers were enjoying a comfortable, 66-38, lead. The Lake Show was shooting 63% from the field, and the leading scorer was Kobe Bryant with 15 points.
The Lakers expanded their lead to 30 points in the opening minute of the third quarter, and they continued to play with high energy and high intensity. The Lakers were playing exceptional defense, and the Jazz were unable to match-up with the Lakers’ size and height.
At the mid-way point of the third quarter, the Lakers were leading by 28 points, 79-51. Despite Jerry West’s comments about the Lakers’ defense, the team absolutely shut down the Utah Jazz. The Lakers forced the Jazz to take tough shots and committee multiple turnovers.
At the end of the third quarter, the Lakers led 93-65. Entering the fourth quarter, there was no doubt the Lakers would walk away victorious.
The Los Angeles Lakers came into the fourth quarter with a 28-point lead and they were completely dominating the Jazz. Phil Jackson inserted his reserves in an effort to rest his stars before the next game.
The Lakers never trailed in this game, and they Jazz ultimately left the court with their heads down in embarrassment. As the final buzzer rang, the Lakers were ahead 120-91 and they improved to a record of 33-13.
The Lakers shot 62% from the field, and the team’s leading scorer was Kobe Bryant with 21 points. Up next for the Lake Show are the Sacramento Kings on Friday night for a inter-division match-up.