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Instant analysis: Jazz beat defending NBA champion Lakers

Utah defeated Los Angeles 114-89 in the first meeting between the two teams this season.

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Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (00) looks to pass past Los Angeles Lakers center Marc Gasol (14) at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

The Utah Jazz beat the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers 114-89 at Vivint Arena on Wednesday in the first meeting between the two teams this season.

High notes

  • The Jazz took a 16-point lead into halftime and seemingly had no problem extending that lead once the second half began, going on an 8-0 run to start the third quarter. The Jazz have had 20-point leads in 20 of 32 games played this season. 
  • Donovan Mitchell started the game 0-7 from the field but was still impacting the game on defense and by facilitating. He was on a major triple-double watch but came up two assists shy by the time he subbed out. He finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.

  • A day after being snubbed by not being named an All-Star, Mike Conley finished very near his own triple-double with 14 points, eight assists and eight rebounds. You know, Conley gets a lot of deserved credit for being a stabilizing force for the Jazz offense, but not enough is said about how he’s been playing defensively this season. Talen Horton-Tucker looked pretty frustrated on multiple occasions on Wednesday when he couldn’t seem to get by or get any room with Conley on him.
  • If I’m being honest, the game was so well-rounded for the Jazz that the highest of high notes for them was the collective effort, with six players in double figures. The Jazz did a lot of work inside and out with both Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors doing a great job on the offensive side and taking advantage of mismatches, they passed the ball with accuracy, shot lights out, and pushed the pace all night. It was great basketball from the top team in the West.

Low notes

  • These are two of the league’s best teams and are both very good defensively. That usually makes for a pretty physical game, but it didn’t really seem like that was the case. It’s very hard to gauge what a playoff matchup would look like when the teams are clearly not going as hard at each other as they could.
  • Additionally, for the Lakers being one of the best defensive teams in the league they sure didn’t deter the Jazz from the 3-point line. The Jazz actually set a franchise record for 3s made in a half with 14 in the first 24 minutes, shot 60.9% from deep in the first half and finished the night 22 of 48 from 3-point range.
  • The Lakers were hard pressed to find much help outside of LeBron James, who finished with a team-high 19 points. But they were also playing shorthanded.

Flat notes

  • The Lakers were without Anthony Davis (calf strain) and Dennis Schroder (health and safety protocols), so while the Jazz will certainly take the win and be happy with the way that they played, it’s not like they were able to measure themselves against the full strength of the defending champs.