The Los Angeles Lakers were swept away from their three-game road trip in a 96-88 loss to the Utah Jazz. The Lakers put up a reasonable fight, but a slow start to the game and collapse in the middle of the third quarter did the purple and gold in. Gordon Hayward led the way with a game-high 24 points.
The Lakers played like a team without two starters with Tarik Black and Jose Calderon filling in for Julius Randle and D’Angelo Russell. They scored a paltry 16 points in the first, outscored 10-2 through the first four minutes. Lou Williams (20 points) and Jordan Clarkson (16 points) once again did their best to make up for the starters, but once again fell short without much support elsewhere. Brandon Ingram was a ghost, failing to scratch the scoring sheet for the second game in a row and failing to log an assist. He ended the night with two rebounds and one steal.
Ivica Zubac, however, looked solid with extended minutes as head coach Luke Walton lets the Zubacca live. He reached another career-high with 16 points while adding another double-double to his portfolio with 10 rebounds. The big man big story was Rudy Gobert, however, who (as always) made the Lakers feel his presence with nine points, 12 rebounds and five blocks.
Things started well enough in the third quarter for the Lakers but took a turn for the worst after a surprising scoring surge from Timofey Mozgov. L.A. led by three points in the third quarter but found themselves down 10 going into the fourth once the smoke settled. A big run through the final seven minutes from Utah swung the pendulum back into the Jazz’s favor, and that was enough to hold through the end of the game.
The Lakers need every single moment of their four-day layoff to gather themselves after taking one step forward to start January before taking 18 steps back down the stretch. They’ll be back in action Tuesday at home against the Denver Nuggets.