LAL 86, Utah 99: Preseason Diary

Below is a running diary of L.A.’s Saturday evening preseason contest against Utah, with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:

Starters
Lakers: Nash, Bryant, World Peace, Gasol and Sacre
Jazz: Mo Williams, G. Hayward, Marvin Williams, D. Favors, A. Jefferson

FIRST QUARTER
11:30 In what Lakers fans hope is a harbinger for the rest of the season, L.A. opened its scoring with a pull-up jumper by Kobe Bryant, pulling up in transition off a feed from Steve Nash. Nash was awarded a huge ovation having been introduced to STAPLES Center for the first time, but of course, it wasn’t quite as loud as Kobe’s cheer. A few minutes later, Bryant fed Pau Gasol with a between-the-legs pass in transition for the Spaniard’s dunk, putting L.A. up 13-7.

0:00 L.A. led by as many as 10 when Antawn Jamison hit a three after entering, before the Jazz closed on a 10-3 run to trail 25-22. Bryant’s seven points led the way, while rookie Robert Sacre grabbed four of his six boards on the offensive end, continuing to play solid ball for the 60th pick in the draft.

SECOND QUARTER
1:41 Utah cut the lead to as few as one at 31-30, but with Bryant back in and scoring with ease (15 points), a 10-0 run put L.A. up 11. Kobe also had three dimes, matching Nash, with the ball moving around swiftly.

0:00 Despite shooting only 32.5 percent from the field, the Lakers found themselves with a 46-35 lead into the half, thanks to some excellent energy on D and Bryant’s general aggressiveness (12 free throw attempts). L.A. took care of the ball, turning it over only five times to Utah’s eight, and grabbed 28 rebounds to Utah’s 22 (10 offensive, five from Sacre).

THIRD QUARTER
6:10 A pretty extra pass from Kobe got Gasol a dunk, keeping L.A. up six, as Bryant’s five dimes matched those of Nash. On the previous possession, Nash hit his first jumper of the game after starting out 0 for 5, so shocking that he and Nash exchanged a laugh after the Canadian’s swish. But turnovers (seven in the first eight minutes after only five in the first half) and some uninspired play saw Utah start a run…

3:13 The rough quarter continued for L.A. as Utah, down 11 at the half, suddenly led 65-60 as Al Jefferson capped a big run. If we’re being honest, the Lakers simply weren’t playing as hard on both ends after building their lead … but hey, it’s preseason. With that said, Mike Brown told his players he wanted better effort on D and less fouling (Utah was parading to the foul line), and better ball movement from side-to-side on O. Out of the timeout, the players responded with a 5-0 run to tie the game at 65.

FOURTH QUARTER
3:48 The starters were done late in the third, none playing more than Gasol’s 27:44, leading 69-67, but Utah’s bench ran away from the third unit of the Lakers (Darius Morris, Andrew Goudelock, Devin Ebanks, Reeves Nelson and Greg Somogyi) to lead 90-80 as the clock ticked down. Granted, the Jazz had lottery picks like Enes Kanter (14 points, 14 boards) on the floor, to L.A.’s second rounders and undrafted free agents.

0:00 The final: Utah 99, Lakers 86. L.A. fell for a third straight preseason game, with the bright spot of the night coming from Bryant and his 18 points, eight boards and five assists with two steals in 24 minutes. Goudelock and CDR made some nice plays off the pine down the stretch, with Darius Johnson-Odom pitching in as well.