Andrew D. Bernstein
Lakers Show Their Muscle in Victory Over Jazz
In what can be best described as a roller coaster-type game, the Lakers (22-22) ended their three-game skid with a big 101-95 win over the Utah Jazz. L.A. played its best basketball in the second and fourth frames and held Utah to just 17 points in the final quarter.
The Lake Show trailed by as many as 10 during the third after the Jazz closed the quarter on a 12-6 run. The Lakers would storm back with a 13-0 run of their own and would grab a four-point lead midway through the fourth.
Utah would never regain a lead or even tie, as L.A. played shutdown defensive the remainder of the game.
On a day where he earned his third, 10-day contract with the Purple and Gold, Stanley Johnson showed out on all ends of the court tonight. The “Stanimal” provided big plays throughout the fourth but made the biggest play of the night with about two minutes left in the game.
On a missed LeBron three, Johnson grabbed the offensive board and found Avery Bradley for a corner three that put the Lakers up by six and a dagger in the hearts of the Jazz.
Johnson has provided sparks off the bench when his name his called but tonight was his best performance in a Laker uniform. The 25-year-old finished with 15 points, five rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal in 25 minutes and scored 10 of his total points in a span of two minutes during the fourth.
“I just wanted to bring some energy into the game,” Johnson told Mike Trudell postgame. “It’s nothing but energy and that’s what I continue to bring to be successful.”
The Lakers bench added some additional energy Johnson emphasized as three of the four non-starters finished in double figures and outscored the Jazz bench 44-25. Malik Monk finished with 14 points and seven rebounds, Talen Horton-Tucker added 11 points and Austin Reaves contributed four points and five rebounds as all four players provided 20-plus minutes.
Austin Reaves. All Effort. pic.twitter.com/FBpVLDC6bz— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) January 18, 2022
While several Lakers made some impressive plays throughout the contest, no one had a bigger play than what Russell Westbrook did toward the end of the second. On a pick-and-roll set by LeBron, Westbrook drove down the middle of the lane and threw down a tomahawk slam on Utah big man Rudy Gobert, sending Lakers Nation into a frenzy.
Westbrook would close his night with 15 points, eight rebounds, and three assists.
LeBron James was his usual self tonight, as “The King” extended his streak of 25-plus points to 14 games. With the 25 points, LBJ added seven rebounds, seven assists, a steal and a block in a team-high 37 minutes.
The Lakers will host the Indiana on Wednesday and will look to carry momentum from tonight’s victory, not only into the game against the Pacers but into their season-long six-game road trip that follows.
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