HERO. The Utah Jazz overcomes the Los Angeles Lakers, 132-123, behind Lauri Markkanen’s heroics to secure their fifth straight victory. UTAH JAZZ FACEBOOK
The Utah Jazz orchestrated a remarkable comeback, rallying past the Los Angeles Lakers, 132-123 on Saturday night (Sunday in the Philippines, January 14)/.
Lauri Markkanen played a pivotal role, leading the charge with 29 points, nine rebounds, and five assists, propelling the Jazz to their fifth consecutive victory and extending their winning streak to eight straight games at home.
Collin Sexton showcased his scoring prowess with 27 points, while Jordan Clarkson contributed 21, aiding the Jazz in securing a crucial win.
John Collins and Keyonte George added 19 points each, with Collins also making his presence felt on the boards, grabbing a team-high 13 rebounds.
The victory marked a significant milestone for the Jazz as they moved above .500 for the first time this season, having struggled in the early part of the campaign, winning only seven of their first 23 games.
Coach Will Hardy expressed his satisfaction with the team’s progress, highlighting the newfound identity on both ends of the floor.
The absence of LeBron James due to a left ankle injury did not deter the Lakers’ efforts. Anthony Davis stepped up with a triple-double, but the Jazz seized control after the first quarter. Utah’s dominance in transition play was a key factor, tallying 27 fast-break points and capitalizing on 23 points off turnovers.
Hardy said they didn’t want the game to be played all in the halfcourt and that they capitalized on their speed advantage in transition.
D’Angelo Russell led the Lakers with an impressive season-high 39 points and eight assists, while Austin Reaves added 19 before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Rui Hachimura chipped in 17 points, but it wasn’t enough to counter the Jazz’s second-half surge.
Utah utilized a 15-3 run in the third quarter, with Markkanen and Kris Dunn connecting on crucial three-pointers, propelling the Jazz to an 85-79 lead. Despite the Lakers’ attempts to cut the deficit, Utah maintained control and secured a double-digit lead at 120-109, ultimately sealing the victory.
The Jazz’s resilience on both ends of the court, coupled with their effective free-throw shooting in the fourth quarter, proved decisive. Markkanen and Sexton made a combined 20 free throws on 21 attempts, helping Utah finish 36 of 39 from the charity stripe.