Below is a running diary of L.A.’s fourth preseason contest against Utah in Anaheim with some comments drawn from our @LakersReporter Twitter account, and a few more details in case you missed any of the action:
Lakers: Nash, Bryant, World Peace, Jamison and Sacre
Jazz: J. Tinsley, G. Hayward, M. Williams, P. Millsap, A. Jefferson
7:26 After starting the game 1 for 6, L.A. got an Antawn Jamison jumper, Kobe Bryant free throws and Steve Nash floater to open a 9-5 edge. In the bigger picture, Pau Gasol had a night off (just to rest) and Dwight Howard (back), Jordan Hill (back) and Earl Clark (groin) were out with respective injuries.
0:00 Play was generally sloppy, shots not falling for either team … until the final two minutes, when Utah went on a 13-3 run to close the first with a 26-15 lead. We shouldn’t be too surprised; the number of LAL bodies out especially in the front court made it difficult.
5:07 With L.A. down 39-22 (in short, Utah had two former No. 3 overall lottery picks in Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors going against two undrafted free agent rookie bigs), Chris Duhon got his chance to run with the starters, with Nash done for the night (rest). Duhon managed a runner in the lane to halt a Jazz run, blocked a shot and had one turnover in his five minutes, but Utah added three points to their lead to take a 52-32 lead into the half.
0:00 Takeaways from the first half: it’s harder to play basketball when your three best big men sit out, especially when two of them are All-Stars; Kobe’s legs look good, he’s not looking like someone who’s been in the NBA for 17 years; Jamison allowed L.A. pretty good floor spacing with his shooting, but the shots weren’t falling for anybody (29.4 percent field goals).
0:00 Bryant didn’t stop there, folks. He kept nailing shots from everywhere, scoring 23 of the Lakers 24 points, including three triples, turning what remained a blow out into a great show for those assembled in Anaheim and watching on Time Warner Cable SportsNet. He’s pretty fun to watch when he’s in a rhythm like that.
7:03 A bright spot throughout the preseason was the typical Mr. Irrelevant draft pick, No. 60 overall, dead last in Sacre. He scored on a spin move in the post and has a pretty good shot at nabbing a roster spot — in part because of L.A.’s current injuries to bigs — for the season. And, oh, L.A. was down 103-64.
0:00 Two late bright spots for Lakers fans: four catch-and-shoot triples from Jodie Meeks (LAL hoping his play can limit some of Kobe’s heavy minutes); and a fierce put-back slam from Reeves Nelson that got Dwight Howard off the bench cheering. Do you want to know the final score? Really? Fine: Utah 114, LAL 80. Up next is Sacramento, in Las Vegas, on Friday night. See you there.