Monday night on national TV, the Jazz faced the Lakers, and hung around, but Anthony Davis’ dominance was too much to handle. Here’s the Deseret News reporting:
For exactly 30 minutes on Monday night against the Los Angeles Lakers at Disney World, the Utah Jazz looked like a completely different team from the one that was altogether befuddled in a 16-point loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder last Saturday.
The new week brought a new Jazz squad, as they were aggressive in getting into the lane, moving the ball and they caught some fire from distance in the second quarter after an 0-for-9 start in the first.
But then suddenly at the midway point of the third quarter, the wheels came off. Up by four at 71-67, Utah surrendered a 14-0 run in less than five minutes, and the new double-digit deficit was too much to overcome in an eventual 116-108 loss.
The defeat moved the Jazz to 42-25 overall on the season and 1-2 during the NBA’s restart in Orlando.
And the Salt Lake Tribune:
What are the Jazz playing for here, exactly?
After tonight’s loss, they’re now in fifth, half a game below the Houston Rockets for the four seed. That means they’d play the Rockets again in the playoffs in the first round, if things started today.
Normally, you’d say that they’re playing for home court positioning. But everyone’s playing in Orlando this year, and I have a hard time believing that the virtual fans are making the Jazz play better or worse. Sorry, virtual fans. The Jazz’s home-court advantage is usually one of the best — if not the best — in the NBA, but it simply won’t matter this year.
So given that, the only reason the Jazz are playing right now is to
A) avoid the seventh seed, which would mean playing the Clippers in the first round
B) figure things out so that they can play well in the playoffs while staying healthy
C) find the best matchup they can in the first round and throughout the playoffs
And the OC Register:
The Lakers (51-15) are a better team when Davis is a focal point. And while LeBron James (22 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists) got in on the action, particularly in the fourth quarter, it was no coincidence that Davis’ most assertive game so far in the restart was also the Lakers’ most convincing win.
The added emphasis on getting Davis rolling early was part coaching script, part teammates feeding him, and part Davis himself, feeling unsatisfied after his 14-point effort two nights before.
“I have to play better basketball than I did to help the team win,” Davis said. “Even though I was making the right plays, I still have to be aggressive. I didn’t like the way I performed. … So it was a collective effort to come out more aggressive.”
In the win for the Lakers, Davis shot 13/28 for 42 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and three steals, while LeBron James shot 9/16 for 22 points, eight rebounds, nine assists and two steals.
In the loss, Donovan Mitchell shot 9/22 plus 11/12 free throws for 33 points, while Mike Conley hit 8/17 shots for 24 points and eight assists. But 21 turnovers and just 10 combined points from their starting forwards made it tough for Utah.