Coming off of an embarrassing loss to the reigning NBA champion Toronto Raptors, the Los Angeles Lakers looked to bounce back against the Utah Jazz in their third game in the Orlando Bubble.The Lakers held a 50-15 record, the best in the Western Conference, while the Utah Jazz held a 42-24 record coming into this contest (which ranks 5th in the Western Conference). The Lakers could make history with a win against Utah because it would secure the teams first division title since the 2011-12 season.
The game didn’t start off kindly to the Lakers. Similar to the game against Toronto when LA saw themselves down 13-0 to start, Utah found themselves with a 7-0 advantage. The Lakers, led by Anthony Davis, were able to fight back into it early and tie the game at 24-24 thanks to Davis dropping 13 points and 5 rebounds.
The second quarter saw both teams continue to shoot poorly from the 3-point line, with the Lakers shooting at 20% while the Jazz shot a dismal 14% with a quarter and a half played. Regardless, the energy and intensity of the match stayed constant, with the likes of Donovan Mitchell posting up 21 points at halftime while LeBron James was on early triple double watch with a stat line of 10 points, 3 rebounds, and 6 assists. Rudy Gobert’s defense wasn’t able to tame the game of Anthony Davis who ended the half with 22 points en route to a 58-56 halftime advantage for the Lakers. After having just 14 points against the Raptors, Davis looked to re-establish his dominance on the court.
The third quarter was once again a showcase for the talent and utter dominance of Anthony Davis. He and the Lakers ended the quarter with a 19-5 run to lead 86-76 behind Davis scoring an additional 12 points to raise his tally up to 34 points with a quarter to go. Donovan Mitchell was relatively silent offensively, scoring just 3 points in the third. The Jazz as a team struggled with a measly 20 point quarter.
The fourth and final quarter of this game saw LeBron put up 5 quick points in the first minute and a half to try and extend the Lakers lead, but the Jazz weren’t showing signs of letting up on LA. Every time the Jazz would try to make a run and cut down their double digit deficit, the Lakers would balloon the score back to leads as high as 12 points (with 6:41 left in the game). This final push from the Lakers was enough to close out the Jazz as Anthony Davis finished the night with an immense 42 points and 12 rebounds while LeBron was great in the 4th quarter with a final stat line of 22 points, 8 rebounds, and 9 assists.
With this win, the Lakers solidified their spot atop the Western Conference while securing their first Pacific Division Championship since the 2011-12 season. The Lakers next game is against the Oklahoma City Thunder at 3:30pm PST.
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