LOS ANGELES — The Utah Jazz beat the Los Angeles Lakers, 130-116, on Friday night. Once again the Jazz showed that this team is not only capable of withstanding runs by the opposing team but also maintaining and extending leads in the closing moments of a game.

This time they did it with five players scoring double-figures, with 31 assists, just eight turnovers and with the team shooting a 50-40-90 (50.5% overall, 42.5% from 3, 90% from the free throw line).

Lauri Markkanen was just fantastic again and was methodically the overall best player on the court throughout the course of the game, finishing with 27 points, 13 rebounds, four assists, a block and a steal. But there were some other players and moments that really stood out in this one and deserve a closer look.

Will Hardy’s challenge and Mike Conley’s takeover

Jordan Clarkson was called for basket interference with 6:26 left in the fourth quarter. He put up a shot and then it looked like it was coming off the rim and he jumped to tip it but at the very last second, within maybe an inch of the ball, did not touch it. In real time, it was a very hard call.

Clarkson was adamant that he didn’t touch the ball, head coach Will Hardy believed him and challenged the call. The call was overturned and the basket counted giving the Jazz a 10-point lead.

At that moment, Mike Conley checked back into the game and absolutely took over, helping to lead the Jazz to a commanding win.

He pretty quickly hits a 3, was able to drive and get into the paint, got his trademark floater to fall, drew a foul and was locked in defensively. He scored eight of his 15 points in that stretch.

“Mike understands the moment,” Hardy said. “He had sat for a little while to rest and get his legs …then when Mike came in, he looked fresh and he really had a burst and hit a big 3 and then was able to get downhill and get himself in the paint. I don’t have to tell Mike much at this point about what’s going on in the game and understanding those moments.”

The play that made Will Hardy mad

With just over two minutes left to play in the first half, Lonnie Walker IV stole the ball and went coast-to-coast for a dunk on the other end, and Hardy was livid.

The problem was that Walker was not on his own ahead of the defense after the steal. As you can see, in the clip below, Collin Sexton was in front of Walker and by the end of the play you can see four Jazz players in the paint just watching Walker slam it home.

Sexton was trying to choose between guarding Westbrook — thinking that Walker was going to lob it to him — and guarding Walker. But he ended up doing neither and ended up in no-man’s-land just watching the ball.

Hardy immediately called a timeout and you can see him at the end of the clip come into frame on the left side, yelling and gesturing as he walks onto the court. He had some very colorful words and was not pleased to say the least.

“I should have taken a charge or fouled,” Sexton said. “It was one of those plays where the momentum shifts and he had to call the timeout. If I foul that means they shoot free throws, I’ve got to know that and know that’s a good foul to take right now and not let him get the dunk. ‘Cause he gets the dunk and the momentum turns and then he had to burn a timeout.”

In Sexton’s defense, hedging a bit and not allowing the lob to Westbrook is probably a good idea, and it wasn’t like there was a ton of momentum in the Lakers favor at that point. But Hardy was yelling as the players were coming down the court and wanted Sexton to commit to something and to stop the play, no matter how he had to do it.

“That play bothered me a lot,” Hardy said. “Lonnie Walker went 94 feet, right-handed, down the middle of the lane and dunked it and not one player on our team picked up the ball. No one talked. We had a couple of guys who actually ended up under the basket while he was dunking it in transition. And that’s unacceptable for our group. There are a lot of moments where I have to maintain my poise with the team and then every now and then I need to let it rip.”

The Jazz players have described Hardy as calm and composed and fun and caring and supportive, but there is also a side of Hardy that is fiery and he holds the players to high standards, and they like that side of him.

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“He gets rowdy and that’s what we need,” Sexton said. “I feel like everyone here is that type of player. If you make us mad, then we’ll hit. Any of us. Even Mike, who’s quiet, but if you make him mad…”

The Jazz players welcome some tough love from Hardy, because even in the short amount of time they’ve been with him, they trust him and they appreciate that he wants to win as much as they do.

Russell Westbrook off the bench

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In the three games that Westbrook started for the Lakers this season he was averaging just 10.3 points per game and shooting 8.3% from 3-point range. Not great. It’s been a bit of a controversy for the Lakers to move Westbrook to the bench and there’s been some question about whether the guard would accept the role, but honestly he looked pretty fantastic on Friday with the reserve unit.

He hit his first three 3-pointers, was making good reads and played really well with the guys on the floor, especially Juan Tuscano-Anderson. I obviously haven’t watched all of the Lakers games and I don’t know what the answer is for the team that started the season 0-5. But this might have been a really good move.

“I think he’s really good off the bench because he makes that bench unit super dynamic,” Kelly Olynyk said. “I mean, you have a star, triple-double machine coming off the bench. It’s definitely tough for other benches to match up against.”

He finished with 26 points, six assists and shot 60% from 3 and 64.3% overall. That’s quite a difference.

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