Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel wanted his team to play with more aggression than in the 2019-20 NBA season opener, and they obliged with a strong defensive effort in a 95-86 win over the Utah Jazz.
Davis said he was looking forward to taking the court at Staples Center, then went out and helped the Lakers withstand a hot start by the Jazz. Defense also kept Los Angeles in the game and contributed to a 10-0 run late in the first quarter.
The Lakers stretched their lead to 12 points in the second but resting Davis and LeBron James at the same time led to a five-minute drought and allowed the Jazz to climb back into the game. The combination of Davis and defense helped key a late run in the second quarter and the Lakers took a 43-37 lead into halftime.
The slim advantage prompted Vogel to shuffle his lineup by inserting Alex Caruso into the backcourt with Avery Bradley. The action was Caruso’s first minutes this season, but it didn’t pay immediate dividends.
The Jazz started the second half on a 6-0 run to cut the Lakers’ lead to four points. The small lineup then took effect, with Danny Green making an impact on both ends of the floor as part of a 9-0 stretch for the Lakers.
Troy Daniels’ shooting also helped create space and extend the lead in what was a 31-point third quarter. James started the final 12 minutes with the second unit in an effort to preserve the momentum and by the midway point of the quarter, the Jazz seemingly waved the white towel.
James nearly finished with a triple-double at 32 points, 7 rebounds, and 10 assists. Davis contributed 21 points and a game-high 5 blocks.
Rajon Rondo missed a second consecutive game as he continues to recover from a calf strain. Rondo continues to trend in the right direction but the team hasn’t given any indication when the veteran point guard may make his season debut.