LOS ANGELES — It wasn’t by any means the most beautiful win, but the Los Angeles Lakers muscled by the Utah Jazz 90-83 on Friday night to grab their third straight win.
It was a contest that saw them commit a season-worst 24 turnovers while recording a season-low 10 assists. There was much to be desired offensively, but the Lakers did just enough offensively to scrape by on the night shooting 45.6 percent from the field and finish with three players in double figures with Brandon Ingram leading the way with 24 points.
However, it was their defense that was the difference in the game that saw them step it up on that end of the floor to hold the Jazz to a season-best 83 points while forcing them to shoot 38.8 percent from the floor and 17.4 percent from distance with just four 3-pointers made along with notching 11 steals.
“Not a pretty win but we won with our defense tonight,” head coach Luke Walton said. “All I asked was for our guys to bring the energy, the effort and get that crowd going. I thought we did a really good job of playing with a competitive spirit and fighting on the defensive end.”
Los Angeles held command of the contest throughout and never fell behind by more than three points in the second half. They gained separation in the final quarters forcing the Jazz to shoot 43.2 percent from the floor while going 1-of-7 from beyond the arc while committing 11 turnovers. Meanwhile, the Lakers got enough offensive firepower from James and Ingram combining for 29 of the 52 points in the second half.
“We had a strong defensive effort,” Kyle Kuzma said. “Everyone was locked in from the jump.”
It was far from being their most explosive offensive performance with things being out of sync throughout the night with sloppy play offensively, but Los Angeles was able to string together a strong game defensively that put them in the position to pull away late in the fourth quarter.
This may not have been in the manner that the Lakers had hoped to play coming off Thanksgiving, it was a win that showed that the team is continuing to grow in the right direction even not nights when things are not clicking.
“Through the course of an 82-game season, there are going to be games that we have to win it defensively,” James said. “No matter how you are playing offensive and that’s what we did tonight.”
Bob Garcia IV
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