SALT LAKE CITY (AP)Lauri Markkanen scored 23 points, Jordan Clarkson added 22 and the Utah Jazz beat Los Angeles 139-116 on Monday night, their second victory over the short-handed Lakers in four days.
Utah set season highs in points scored, field goals made, and field goal percentage. The Jazz made 53 field goals while shooting 56.4% from the field. They made 16 3-pointers en route to scoring at least 130 points for the third time in 12 games.
Seven Jazz players scored in double figures.
”We got literally like 12 guys that can go out there and cause a problem with mismatches or with their abilities on the court,” point guard Mike Conley said.
LeBron James was sidelined along with Lonnie Walker IV and Patrick Beverley, leaving Los Angeles with only 11 available players.
Anthony Davis scored a season-high 29 points and Russell Westbrook added 22 points off the bench as Los Angeles fell to 2-8.
”I don’t want to be 2-8 at all,” Davis said. ”We got guys out . you got to look at big picture as it’s only been 10 games, but 2-8 is a hard pill to swallow.”
Clarkson hit four three pointers – the final one beating the buzzer – to help Utah grab a 42-34 lead going into the second quarter. He totaled 15 points in the first quarter.
The Lakers trailed throughout the second quarter but made four straight baskets, highlighted by a pair of dunks from Davis, to cut the deficit to one at 67-66. Utah countered with three-point plays from Collin Sexton and Markkanen to keep Los Angeles from going in front before halftime.
When the shots didn’t fall as easily in the second half, the Lakers were unable to keep up because they struggled to get stops with any meaningful consistency.
”We want to change that tone, change that culture to be one of these physical teams where the opposing team feels us,” Los Angeles coach Darvin Ham said.
The Jazz opened the third quarter on a 10-2 run to push its lead back to double digits. Utah made four straight baskets, punctuated by a 3-pointer from Conley that put the Jazz ahead 86-73.
Davis closed the gap to 92-85 with a three-point play. That’s as close as the Lakers could get. The Jazz used a 16-5 run sparked by back-to-back Markkanen baskets to push their lead to 108-90 late in the third quarter.
”They’re playing with a lot of passion and joy out there,” Jazz coach Will Hardy said. ”The ball’s flying around and they’re happy for each other. Everybody gets to touch it and nobody feels like they’re not included in the game.”
NO QUICK FIXES
The Lakers are a half-game ahead of last-place Houston in the Western Conference after 10 games. The Lakers yielded an average of 134.5 points in the two losses to the Jazz, who shot better than 50% in both games.
”We have lost all of our defensive intensity and that’s what is killing us,” Davis said.
It’s a problem for a club with a massive payroll and limited options for reshaping the roster. Ham said the onus is on his team to utilize their existing talent and skills to generate a winning culture again.
”We need to step up and play better,” Ham said. ”We can’t go out and get people, we are already a repeat tax offender. We can’t spend money to build a team. We already have three big-time, first-ballot future Hall of Famers that a chuck of our budget is spent on and there’s only so much left.”
Lakers: Kendrick Nunn scored a season-high 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting. . Wenyen Gabriel matched his career high with three steals.
Jazz: Conley dished out a season-high 12 assists. . Markkanen did not make his first basket of the game until midway through the second quarter. . Utah is averaging 41 first-quarter points against the Lakers this season.
Lakers visit the Clippers on Wednesday.
Jazz visit the Hawks on Wednesday.
More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/nba and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports