LOS ANGELES (AP) Lauri Markkanen added 27 points and 12 rebounds, Jordan Clarkson added 20 points and the Utah Jazz continued their remarkable start to the season by beating the Los Angeles Lakers 130-116 on Friday night.
Starting a year that was expected to be largely competitive, the Jazz started 7-3 with Kelly Olynyk leading 18 points, Mike Conley 15 points and 10 assists. Utah lost most of the big lead in the third quarter, but took at least seven points out of eight players to advance to the win.
“Again, a night where many different guys contributed to the game at many different times,” said Will Hardy, the Jazz’s freshman coach. “Another proof of the group and doing it as a group.”
Russell Westbrook had 28 points and six assists in another strong performance in a backup role for the Lakers, who fell 2-6 after their two-game winning streak ended. Los Angeles have not won three games in a row since January 7.
LeBron James had 17 points and 11 rebounds in a tense effort while recovering from an illness and dealing with pain in his left foot. Anthony Davis scored 20 of his 22 points in the first half, but the Lakers’ solid defensive start to the season collapsed against the balanced, polished Jazz.
“We took a big step backwards tonight,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said of his defensive performance. “Defensively, it was the first game where I felt we weren’t really there.”
The Jazz seemed to be having a rough year after parting ways with Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, but their long-time NBA-supporting talent-filled roster came as the league’s surprise as they beat a number of respected teams.
“Every night we get more familiar with each other as a group and they get to know me more,” Hardy said. “We threw different things in there tonight and our guys made it happen.”
The Lakers have been a solid defensive team and a weak offensive team so far this season, but their strengths and weaknesses have changed against Utah.
“We have 60,000 points in our locker room, so I’m not worried about our offense,” Ham said. “Our defensive effort has to be there. Our defense was inept at best.”
Utah was leading 16 points in the third quarter before Westbrook almost completely outstripped the Lakers, scoring nine and leading a 24-10 series lead as Los Angeles locked their efforts at both ends.
Westbrook was the target of the ire of many Lakers fans last season, but at the free throw line he said, “MVP! ” and on the bench in the fourth quarter they serenaded him with ‘We want Westbrook’ chants. .
“They started playing much faster than us,” Westbrook said. “(We were one) step slow and it showed. We tried to pick it up in the second half but we put ourselves in a bad position early on.”
Jazz: Talen Horton-Tucker received a commemoration video during the first break. Horton-Tucker has played the last three seasons with the Lakers after drafting him in 2019 and earned a ring as a rookie reserve. He was traded to Utah for Patrick Beverley in August. … Italian rookie Simone Fontecchio played in the final moments after missing four games on NBA health and safety protocols.
Lakers: Davis (low back pain) and James (foot), but medically cleared after pre-game warmups. … Lonnie Walker scores 17 points. Troy Brown Jr. He was 12 years old.
Jazz: Sunday night at the Clippers.
Lakers: He will host the Cavaliers on Sunday.
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