Monday, April 14, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Lakers 119, Jazz 104
By Dave McMenamin
SALT LAKE CITY -- Not that it should be much of a surprise by now, but the Los Angeles Lakers proved on Monday that they just couldn't get things right this season.
When they needed to win in the early part of the season, they were terrible at it, becoming the first team in the league to be eliminated from postseason contention with 16 games left to play.
When they needed to lose late in order to help their draft standing, they proved equally bad, pulling out spoiler wins against the Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks to hurt those team's playoff chances.
Nothing summed up the backward season more than what happened in Salt Lake City, however. The Lakers were up against a Utah Jazz team they will be battling for ping-pong positioning next month and, all of the sudden, they looked like world beaters.
There was Nick Young making seemingly everything he put up there, setting a season high with 41 points.
There was Jordan Hill causing fans to once again scratch their heads and wonder why he ever fell out of the rotation, scoring 21 points on 10-for-13 shooting.
There was Jodie Meeks playing like the true professional he's groomed himself to be, dropping in 23 points of his own.
There was Kendall Marshall dishing out 15 assists and giving the team something to think about when it comes to making him an offer this offseason.
But through it all, there was the Lakers' draft chances for next season taking a hit, which is really what matters at this point.
How it happened: The Lakers fell down by as many as 13 points in the first half, but used a 19-2 run to close out the second quarter to take a 57-51 lead into intermission. The Jazz tied it back up 86-86 heading into the fourth. L.A. blew Utah's doors off in the final frame, with Young scoring 17 points in the quarter.
What it means: The Lakers promised they hadn't given up on things and were playing for each other, and for pride. Apparently they weren't lying.
Hits: The Lakers shot 54.9 percent as a team.
Misses: The Lakers' lottery positioning took a hit on Monday as L.A. could have vaulted below Utah to the No. 5 spot, but instead pretty much cemented its place at No. 6.
Stat of the game: 18. The Jazz had 18 turnovers leading to 29 points for the Lakers.
Up next: There's just one game left in this forgettable season for the Lakers. They travel to Texas to play the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday in a game where Gregg Popovich is sure to rest his key players -- with the No. 1 record in the league and home court throughout the playoffs already locked up for the silver and black.