• The Lakers did their best to hang with the Jazz on Sunday but simply did not have the players available to keep pace with a strong Utah squad.

    The game started poorly for Los Angeles with Utah scoring the first seven points and eventually taking a 19-4 lead against their overmatched opponent. The Lakers stormed back, led by Josh Hart’s defensive effort — in particular a huge block shot on a Donovan Mitchell dunk attempt. Tyler Ennis came off the bench to help spark the 10-0 run that help stave off the Jazz, chipping-in four points and three steals while earning the team’s only positive rating in the period.

    Los Angeles was able to go into the half down only six points even though they really only got production from three players: Hart, Ennis and Julius Randle, who contributed 37-of-44 points.

    The Lakers could not keep up their super-human defensive effort going in the third quarter, failing to hold the Jazz at bay and falling behind 82-67 by the end of the third quarter. Los Angeles really needed to shoot well from 3-point range to counteract the strength of Utah’s interior defense — instead they made only 2-of-17 from distance going into the final frame. One culprit in particular was Brook Lopez who had an off night, going 0-of-10 from the floor and 0-of-4 from 3-point range, failing to see time on the court in the fourth quarter.

    The Lakers fell behind by as many as 21 points, only drawing as close as 13 before falling by the eventual score of 112-97.

    The Jazz were led by rookie guard Mitchell, who was impressive all night with his athleticism, shooting, passing and array of offensive moves. He finished with 28 points, nine rebounds, eight assists, one steal and one block on 9-of-18 shooting from the field.

    Joe Ingles showed his offensive versatility all night as well, accruing 22 points, 10 assists, four rebounds, one steal and one block on 9-of-12 from the floor and 3-of-6 from 3-point range. He was able to score easily all night, often strolling to the basket uncontested or knocking down wide open shots from the perimeter as the Lakers focused on other elements of the Jazz attack.

    The Lakers were led by Hart, who played excellent defense while contributing 25 points, four rebounds, one assists, two steals and two blocks on 10-of-18 shooting from the field.

    Randle was limited to only 25 minutes in the blowout but still finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists while shooting 6-of-12 from the field and 5-of-5 from the line.

    Ennis was the surprise star of the evening for the Lakers, scoring a career-high 22 points with six rebounds, two assists, three steals and a plus-5 rating. He shot 9-of-18 from the floor and played a strong, aggressive brand of basketball all night.

    Los Angeles has limped towards the end of this season, losing six of eight due to all the injuries that have crippled their team.

    The Jazz clinched a playoff berth with the victory, though they still have a lot to fight for as they only hold a two-game lead over the eight seed.

    Key Stats and Observations

    -The Lakers were only able to amass 20 assists compared to the Jazz who tallied 35 assists on their 42 made field goals.

    -Utah shot 42-of-83 from the field (50.6 percent) vs. Los Angeles who made only 37-of-93 (39.8 percent). The difference was even more pronounced from 3-point range where the Jazz knocked down 13-of-36 (36.1 percent) while the Lakers converted 5-of-25 (20.0 percent). Los Angeles was even more inept from distance prior to the fourth quarter as they had only made 2-of-17 from distance at that juncture.

    -The Lakers did a good job at the free throw line making 18-of-22 (81.8 percent) while the Jazz shot well below their season average, knocking down only 15-of-22 (68.2 percent).

    -After losing the turnover battle 21-5 in their last contest, the Lakers did a better job in this game, turning the ball over 14 times compared to 18 miscues by Utah.

    Up Next

    The Lakers host James Harden and the Houston Rockets on Tuesday for their last home game of the season.

    It’s hard to predict the nature of the upcoming game as Houston has already clinched the top seed in the Western Conference and therefore may choose to rest some of their key players for this meaningless contest.

    Los Angeles also has nothing to gain and therefore may choose to avoid playing any of its multitude of injured players including Kuzma, Ball and Ingram — the three key players who appear to have a chance of suiting up.

    What the Lakers have demonstrated this year is a will to fight and grit that was absent in previous years, lending one to believe that those that do take the court for the Purple and Gold will be battling their hardest against whoever is in uniform for the Rockets.

Fantasy News

  • Marcus Smart - G - Boston Celtics

    Marcus Smart (torn oblique) said he is nowhere near returning, but is "ecstatic" with the progress he has made.

    Smart was spotted putting up some light shots during morning shootaround and said he will probably begin jogging in the next couple weeks. Jaylen Brown should continue to start in place of Smart.

    Source: Jay King on Twitter

  • Tyronn Lue - Team - Cleveland Cavaliers

    Lakers GM Rob Pelinka is expected to meet with Tyronn Lue in regards to the vacant head coaching position on Friday.

    Monty Williams and Lue figure to be the favorites for the head coaching position. Each coach brings a valuable relationship to the table: Williams coached and has a relationship with Anthony Davis, who has mentioned the Lakers being one of his preferred destinations and Lue coached LeBron James and the Cavs to a championship in 2016. Pelinka is expected to meet with Williams again following the Sixers’ playoff run.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Patrick McCaw - SG/SF - Toronto Raptors

    Patrick McCaw (right thumb sprain) is probable for Game 3 versus the Magic.

    McCaw provides extra depth on the wing for the Raptors, but he is not expected to come out of the gate playing a major role. If he does enter to rotation he would likely take minutes from Jodie Meeks and Jeremy Lin.

    Source: Eric Koreen on Twitter

  • Lou Williams - G - Los Angeles Clippers

    Lou Williams was held in check in Thursday's 105-132 Game 3 loss to the Warriors with 16 points on 4-of-11 shooting to go with two rebounds, six assists and a 3-pointer.

    It was clear from the beginning that the Warriors' defensive scheme would revolve around making life difficult for Williams and it worked. His scoring line doesn't look too bad thanks to garbage time, but Williams couldn't get anything going from the moment he checked into the game. They wanted to give Sweet Lou less control of the ball and force him to rely on his teammates and unfortunately, his teammates came up short. If Lou can get some outside help from anyone else besides Montrezl Harrell, the Clippers have an outside shot, but if not, this series will be over shortly.

  • Andrew Bogut - C - Golden State Warriors

    Andrew Bogut led the Warriors in rebounding in Game 3 with 14 boards to go with eight points on 4-of-5 shooting with five dimes, a steal and a block on Thursday.

    Bogut looked sharp from the jump and if he can continue to play like this, their title odds will barely take a hit. DeMarcus Cousins (quad) is most likely out for the remainder of the playoffs, but the Warriors starters are well in tune with Bogut and there's so much talent on this team that all he has to do is stay within his role and do the dirty work which is something he's used to.

  • Montrezl Harrell - F/C - Los Angeles Clippers

    Montrezl Harrell scored 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting with four rebounds and two assists in Thursday's Game 3 against the Warriors.

    Harrell was able to score, but he couldn't keep up in the pick-and-roll with Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry. It's a tall task for anyone and tonight it led to a bunch of layups for Andrew Bogut and Kevon Looney as Harrell isn't a bad defender, but he's nowhere near the level you need to be to guard the Warriors.

  • Danilo Gallinari - F - Los Angeles Clippers

    Danilo Gallinari struggled in Thursday's Game 3 with nine points on 2-of-13 shooting with six rebounds and three assists.

    Gallo couldn't get anything going against the Warriors and if the Clippers are going to have any chance in this series they're going to need a lot more from him. He went 0-for-8 from deep to compound his struggles within the arc as well. The team's offense is entirely predicated around Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell but that won't be enough to take four games off the Warriors.

  • JaMychal Green - F - Los Angeles Clippers

    JaMychal Green scored 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting with five rebounds, an assist and three 3-pointers in Thursday's Game 3.

    Green played much better than Ivica Zubac (17 minutes, 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting with 15 rebounds, a steal and a block) tonight although the box score doesn't show that. Zubac became unplayable after the first seven minutes of the game and Rivers had much better results with Green in the game and Zubac's stats were all in garbage time when the game was out of hand.

  • Kevin Durant - F - Golden State Warriors

    Kevin Durant responded to a poor outing in Game 2 by dropping 38 points on 14-of-23 shooting while adding four rebounds, seven assists, a steal, a block and three 3-pointers in Thursday's Game 3 win over the Clippers.

    He had a bad Game 2. but Durant came out firing immediately in Game 3. There was no way that the Clippers were going to stop him and tonight he came out and looked like he actually cared and enjoyed his teammates which is bad news for the league. He had 27 points at halftime and as long as he and Stephen Curry are healthy, the Warriors should be the favorites to come out of the West.

  • Andre Iguodala - G/F - Golden State Warriors

    Andre Iguodala led the Warriors bench with 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting with two rebounds, three assists, two blocks and three 3-pointers in Thursday's Game 3 win.

    Iguodala was nailing his triples tonight and had a bench-high plus-17 in tonight's game. If he can knock down his outside shot, it's just extra as his main role is being the glue guy and playing solid defense.