Fresh off a blowout win over the Toronto Raptors, the Utah Jazz found out their game against the Los Angeles Lakers would not include LeBron James. They may have sighed in relief, knowing the Lakers had lost 5 of their last 7 games.
The game was close early, with 6 ties and 12 lead changes before the Lakers went on a 10-2 run late in the first quarter to take a 39-31 lead. The Lakers weren't about to roll over and let the Jazz blow them away.
In the 2nd, Jordan Clarkson turned on the flame and scored 12 points to get the Jazz back in the game, trailing only 3 points at the half. The game got a bit heated at points as the players were talking and Coach Will Hardy barked at the referees over several bad calls.
As the 3rd quarter progressed, the Jazz got things rolling back in their favor and ground out a bunch of fouls to get to the line and turn the game around outscoring the Lakers 36-28.
In the 4th, Keyonte George came up with 9 points. The Jazz went on a 15-6 run and opened up an 11-point lead with just over 4 minutes left. When Austin Reaves fouled out it seemed to deflate the Lakers a bit.
With 1:57 left, Collin Sexton fought for a rebound that ultimately went off the Lakers and out of bounds but was ruled off the Jazz. Will Hardy immediately challenged and won, and that was pretty much the clincher. The Jazz came away with a 132-125 win.
The Jazz have now won 5 in a row and are 21-20 at the halfway mark of the NBA season, and combined with a Houston loss, are now the #9 seed in the West.
They had 5 players with 19 points or more, and 28 assists on the night. And the Jazz had 23 points off of 12 Lakers turnovers.
Lauri Markkanen led the Jazz with 29 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals on the night.
Collin Sexton bulled his way to 27 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists, and a perfect 10-10 from the free throw line.
Keyonte George rebounded from a rough first half (2 points) to finish with 19 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists in 26 minutes.
Jordan Clarkson continued his solid play of late, with 21 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists.
D'Angelo Russell had a red-hot night, going 15-26 from the field for 39 points, and added 8 assists and 2 blocked shots to lead the Lakers in a losing effort.
The Jazz move on to Monday's home game against the Indiana Pacers (23-15), who are red hot having won 3 straight and 9 of 10, even without their star guard Tyrese Haliburton. The Jazz will have their hands full once again but with a 5-game win streak of their own, should be up to the challenge.