After Sunday’s loss, many national reports will continue to focus on the Los Angeles Lakers’ struggles this early season. But credit should be given where credit is due: the Utah Jazz had their most impressive road victory of the season, defeating the Lakers 117-110.
The Jazz rode another balanced attack, as eight players scored seven or more points in the high scoring affair. They withstood a constant barrage of three-pointers, and a furious fourth quarter foray by the Lakers.
Paul Millsap paced the Jazz with an aggressive 24-point, nine-rebound and three-steal game. Mo Williams put on a playmaking display, dishing out nine assists compared to just one turnover. He also hit eight of 11 shots, en route to 22 points. Kobe Bryant predictably led the Lakers with 34 points.
Bench Brilliance: Throughout the first quarter of the NBA season, Utah’s bench has been a highlight. Their collective effort versus the Lakers was a prime example of the consistent play they bring to the Jazz.Los Angeles Lakers center Jordan Hill, left, puts p a shot as Utah Jazz forward Marvin Williams defends during the first half of their NBA basketball game, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) (Mark J. Terrill, AP)
DeMarre Carroll’s stat line (10 points, four assists, three rebounds in 20 minutes), although impressive, belies his impact on the game. His constant hustle, intelligent play and all out effort were integral to the big road win. Carroll took his turn at Bryant, Jodie Meeks and Metta World Peace, holding his own. He produced the play of the game when he made an acrobatic shot and then hustled back in time to deflect the ball on defense.
As Utah gladly welcomed Al Jefferson back to the starting lineup, second-year man Enes Kanter anchored the bench unit again. As was the case his rookie season, he was unafraid and played with confidence. Scoring on a litany of interior moves, Kanter hit six of eight from the floor. He finished with 14 points and six rebounds.
Though his shooting was off, Gordon Hayward played a strong fourth quarter, including good defense on Bryant. He tallied 14 points. And last but not least, Jamaal Tinsley orchestrated the offense with ease. The reserves totaled 43 points.
Every bench player sported a positive +/- mark: Carroll (+15), Hayward (+12), Tinsley (+11), Jeremy Evans (+10), and Kanter (+8).
This and That:
· After Kanter’s effort Sunday evening, the sophomore center is sporting 11.3 points and 5.5 rebounds in just 19.2 minutes over the past six outings. He has hit 30 of 53 shots during that span (56.6 percent).
· The Lakers too had six players in double digit scoring in the losing effort.
· While LA was deadly from downtown, the Jazz did their damage inside, outscoring their opponents 54-34 in the paint.
· Utah also pushed the pace throughout the game, scoring 19 fast break points to the Lakers’ four.
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