LeBron and Reaves get A’s in win over Jazz
Despite losing Anthony Davis to an ankle injury just before halftime, the Los Angeles Lakers came back in the fourth quarter to beat the Utah Jazz, 106-101.
Los Angeles had taken an 11-0 lead from the start, but Utah’s No. 1 scoring offense wasn’t going to stay stagnant for long. Both teams went back and forth, but the momentum swung significantly to the Jazz after Davis’ injury.
The Lakers trailed by double digits early in the fourth but then outscored the Jazz 35-22 in the quarter. LeBron James led LA’s comeback with 33 points while Austin Reaves hit the dagger from 3 points.
Here’s how the Lakers, now 27-31 this season, ranked individually after the win:
Russell Westbrook didn’t have a perfect game (five turnovers, 4 of 7 FT, 1 of 4 3P), but he adjusted in the second half and fought for extra possessions at both ends of the court. He made big low plays, scoring both one-and-1s and finding a cutting LeBron for clutch baskets. Westbrook has played two good games in a row and he will have to continue without Davis.
Malik Monk got the start with Avery Bradley out, and he scored 13 points to go with five rebounds, two steals (including a big one in clutch time) and an assist. His shooting (5 of 12 FG, 2 of 6 3P) could have been better, but it was a performance worthy of a B-minus.
Forty minutes. Thirty-three points. When the team needed a spark, James delivered. He shot 14 of 23, including a 3-of-8 clip from deep, to go with eight rebounds, six assists and two steals. This victory does not happen without James wanting his group to victory.
Stanley Johnson started but only played 19 minutes. He shot 2 of 6 overall and had four assists, but he didn’t have the big game against Utah like last time when he broke out in the fourth quarter.
All that matters now is Davis’ recovery. Prior to his injury, he was down 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting in 17 minutes. The Lakers will sorely miss his presence at the bottom.
Talen Horton-Tucker was all over this game – for good and bad reasons. In 31 minutes off the bench, he recorded four blocks, five rebounds, three assists and multiple deflections that highlighted his defensive potential. But he shot 1 of 6 overall, 0 of 4 from deep (some were off balance late in the shot clock) and committed four fouls. Another solid game from the third-year wing.
Austin Reaves is not afraid of the moment. With the chance to sink Utah, he hit a clutch three to seal the deal. It ended a game in which he had nine points, four rebounds, two assists and a steal. The undrafted rookie is just a fundamentally solid player.
Kent Bazemore gets a blurb here because he came into the game in the second half for seven minutes but definitely made an impact. He immediately swept a corner triple, stripped Donovan Mitchell on a 5-on-4 opportunity for Utah, and did a great job at the point of attack against Mitchell and Jordan Clarkson. With Davis out, Bazemore should have more looks in those small-ball lineups.
Wayne Ellington had a chance to get burned in this match, but it only lasted four minutes. Why? He shot 0 of 3 from deep, which is supposed to be his specialty. To be fair, shooters like him need consistent minutes to maintain their rhythm, but it’s not a good idea for him to empty out when he’s had the chance to break the rotation.