LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers fell for the third straight game falling 107-101 to the Utah Jazz.
Despite being short-handed once again, Los Angeles kept it close throughout the contest before fading late in the fourth quarter. Here a few takeaways from Monday’s contest:
Third Quarter Woes
The wheels came off the track in the third quarter with the Jazz getting off to a 14-o run that gave them a comfortable double-digit lead.
Utah scored 32 points in the quarter while shooting 52.4 percent from the field. Gordon Hayward scored 14 of his team-high 23 points for the game in the period on 5-of-7 shooting, including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles struggled to find any rhythm shooting 29.4 percent from the field with just five made field goals. Lou Williams was the only spark plug offensively in the quarter scoring 11 points.
The Lakers were able to make a strong push in the fourth quarter behind Williams’ scoring outburst, but their offensive struggles in the third quarter were ultimately just too much to overcome.
“We just came out flat to start the third (quarter),” Williams said. “They are one of those teams that you really can’t afford to do that.”
Williams Stays Hot
Williams followed up his best offensive performance of the season with another equally productive outing scoring night notching 38 points on 13-of-27 shooting with seven assists and six rebounds in 35 minutes.
It marked the first time in his 12-year career that he has put up back-to-back 30-point games. Williams also became the first Laker since Kobe Bryant to score 38-plus points in consecutive contests.
Williams did most of his damage in the second half notching 22 points. He was the primary reason for Los Angeles being in contention in the fourth quarter cutting the deficit down to three points late in the fourth quarter before the Jazz pulled away.
“He’s been great. He play makes for us,” Luke Walton said. “He’s undersized. He’s done all he can do. I feel bad we lost the last two games.”
Williams has been a consistent scoring punch this season with a team-leading 17.5 points entering Monday’s game. It marked the 13th time that he’s led the team in scoring, including his eighth 20 point performance of the season.
He has also scored in double figures in 21 out of 23 games this season, including making at least one free throw in 31 straight games dating back to last season.
The 30-year-old has also been the driving force in helping the Lakers lead the league in scoring with 52.3 points per game.
Through the first early portion of the season, the Lakers have had the best scoring bench in the league averaging 52.3 points heading into the game.
This trend continued on Monday night with the Los Angeles’ reserves holding a 67-32 edge over the Jazz. Their bench has only been outscored once by the opposing second unit this season.
A major part of that production has been the play of Williams and Jordan Clarkson, who combined for 55 points scored. This includes recording 30 points of the team’s 48 points scored in the second half.
The duo has been the driving force in helping the Lakers have the most potent scoring bench in the league. However, Walton hinted that the dynamic backcourt combo may have to broken up with the number of injuries that are beginning to pile up that put Brandon Ingram as the starting point guard.
“We are getting pretty close to that, which is obviously been the most consistent successful group we’ve had all season,” Walton said. “We would hate to break it up but with the amount of people going down it might be time to roll in that direction.”
That said, the Lakers appear to be ready for whatever adjustment lies ahead.
“We are pros,’ Williams said. “We got to do whatever is good for the team.”
Next up for the Lakers are the Houston Rockets on December 7th. Tickets start at just $15, with Toyota Center parking available for $10. The Rockets, led by James Harden, will be a difficult road battle for the Lakers, but an opportunity to wash away the sting of this defeat.
Bob Garcia IV
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