Below is a running diary of L.A.’s preseason contest against Utah from Anaheim, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:
Lakers: Fisher, Bryant, Artest, Odom and Gasol
Jazz: Deron Williams, Raja Bell, Andrei Kirilenko, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson
8:00 The Jazz shot 50 percent during Sunday’s win over the Lakers, and slowed down not a bit at the onset of Tuesday’s game, sinking 5-of-6 shots, but still trailed L.A. 12-10 after Artest’s baseline jumper gave him six points, thanks to an earlier free throw and his eighth three-pointer of the preseason in 16 attempts. Artest’s effectiveness on offense, a story throughout training camp, is something the Lakers’ coaching staff wishes it could keep in a bottle.
2:59 The rainy day in Los Angeles seemed to form a cloud over L.A.’s basket in the early goings, as only 4-of-14 shots went through the Anaheim rim. Fisher missed all four of his attempts, and Gasol his three, as Utah went on a 10-0 run to take a 20-12 lead. Meanwhile, we got a fresh injury update on Sasha Vujacic (concussion); he was cleared to practice on Tuesday morning if he felt OK upon arriving at the facility.
0:00 Things didn’t get any better for L.A. from an offensive standpoint, as only 5-of-19 shots (26.3 percent) fell for the champs, and Utah capitalized to take a 24-14 lead out of the quarter.
10:05 You know those first quarter shooting woes? Still going. Even Steve Blake couldn’t get a layup to fall, but he has his own excuse. He told me before the game that he’s been feeling ill for about a week now … in related news, Blake has three small boys at home. Moments later, Blake got into a skirmish with Utah’s Francisco Elson, to whom Blake took exception after a loose elbow from the big man, and swiped hard at him before the two faced off. Blake has always been a feisty pro, which on this occasion earned him praise from team leaders Bryant and Fisher on the bench.
5:01 L.A.’s defense picked up considerably after the Blake tech, and the purple and gold capitalized at the other end through Matt Barnes, who hit a corner three and a layup in transition, and then Brown’s deep two and Blake’s three, cutting Utah’s lead to just three. For his team’s purposes, should Blake get more technicals? (Not really).
0:04.0 The Lakers managed to cut the lead down to three despite 30 percent shooting in the half, but Devin Ebanks left Jazz wing C.J. Miles open from three, and paid for it as Utah entered the tunnel with a 38-32 lead. Uneventful half, indeed, other than the Blake skirmish.
5:29 The Lakers weren’t much better to open the third than they were in the first half, as Utah pushed its lead to 13 on an Al Jefferson and-1 before Bryant answered with a three. There’s a bit of rational that can be provided in struggling to play against the Jazz in the preseason: Jerry Sloan’s run the same system for years and can be run efficiently even in training camp where as Jackson hasn’t even installed much of what L.A. will be doing, and the Jazz – 6-0 in the preseason – also simply play a bit harder than most teams in preseason.
3:17 Before walking back out on the floor after a time out, Yankees fan Odom wondered how his squad was doing. Down 7-3, bottom of the eighth, but with the bases loaded, we responded. He nodded and walked back out on the floor. It’s preseason, after all.
0:01.0 Could Bryant at least get a halfcourt buzzer-beater to fall after missing all but two of his first 12 shots? Nope. Lakers were at only 32 percent after three, scoring just 50 points to Utah’s 61.
7:52 When Andrew Bynum returns in late November or early December, the group we saw to start the fourth quarter could play quite a bit together: Blake, Brown, Barnes, Odom and Ratliff. It was a successful early sting, as two Brown jumpers produced a 10-5 run, trimming Utah’s lead to six.
6:23 The Jazz bounced right back with a 6-0 run to put the lead back at 12, though we did learn that Jefferson wouldn’t return due to a bruised right knuckle. He’d been effective for Utah with 13 points, eight boards and four blocks. Moments later, Barnes converted his second and-1 of the fourth to reach a team-high 13 points, trimming Utah’s lead to seven in the process.
0:51.5 Brown hit another deep jumper, but it was too little, too late, Utah holding on for a 82-74 victory to improve to 7-0 in the preseason. The Lakers are back in action on Thursday and Friday, both games against Golden State, in San Diego and Ontario, respectively. Until then, your numbers:
8 Fourth quarter points for Matt Barnes, who led the Lakers in scoring with 13 points. He added four boards and two assists in 24 minutes, teaming effectively with Steve Blake.
9 Rebounds and assists for Lamar Odom, who attempted only three shots in 30 minutes.
11 Among the few positives for the Lakers was a major decrease in turnovers, 11, from previous preseason games.
15.3 Kobe Bryant’s shooting percentage on 2-of-13 FG’s, just a game after he nailed 7-of-8 shots in the third quarter.
33.3 L.A.’s shooting percentage in their second straight inefficient offensive performance against the physical Jazz squad. Steve Blake (4-of-7) was the only Laker to make more than half of his attempted shots.