We broke down some of the more intriguing numbers from LAL’s 110-99 win against Utah:
Fastbreak points for the Lakers, a team that ranked 20th in that category prior to the game (11.8). A key reason for the numerous opportunities in transition came via Kendall Marshall. “We got the ball up,” coach Mike D’Antoni said. “We had more fastbreaks probably than in a while because he’ll throw the ball up and he’ll get the wings running again and we’ll get into good habits. If he keeps finding guys, they’ll keep running and it’s kind of all tied in together.”
Plus-rating for Pau Gasol – a team high – as he recorded 23 points, 17 rebounds, eight assists and three blocks. Postgame, Gasol acknowledged he felt much better health-wise after missing three of the last six games with an upper respiratory infection.
Assists for Kendall Marshall – a career high – in his first start as a Laker. Marshall also had a career-high 20 points and six rebounds, and just one turnover in 41 minutes. He became the first Laker to post a 20-point, 15-assist performance since Kobe Bryant did against Washington on Feb. 12, 2002. “I thought he had a great pace to the game,” D’Antoni said of Marshall. “He created rhythm, and offense is about rhythm, and I thought he did a terrific job.”
First-quarter points for Utah, a season low for an opponent this season. The Lakers jumped out to an early 30-12 lead, in large part because their defense helped key the offense. They held the Jazz to 6 of 26 field goals (23.1 percent), and on the offensive end, L.A. shot 11 of 17 (64.7 percent) and had nine assists.
Rebounds for Robert Sacre – a career high – in his third start of the season. D’Antoni elected to insert Sacre into the starting unit over Shawne Williams for defensive purposes. The move paid off as the Lakers set the tone early with their intensity on that end of the floor in leading by as many as 19 points in the first quarter.