One win is all the Lakers can get from the Jazz

LOS ANGELES – Behind a team-high 27 points from center Andre Drummond, the Los Angeles Lakers got a rare victory Saturday against the Western Conference-leading Utah Jazz. That trick didn’t work Monday night. With Drummond held to just eight points in the two teams’ second of back-to-back games, Utah ran away with this one, handing the Lakers a 111-97 loss at STAPLES Center.

The difference between the two games basically came down to who shot the ball better. In the first contest, Utah, without the playing services of Donovan Mitchell and center Rudy Gobert, shot a lousy 41 percent from the field. The Lakers, on the other hand, minus LeBron James and Anthony Davis, made 51 percent of their field goal attempts in the overtime win at home.

And in 30 minutes of action, Drummond added eight rebounds and three assists to go with his 27 points. The narrative flipped Monday on both Drummond and the Lakers. As a team, the Lakers shot 43 percent from the field. Meanwhile, Utah converted 57 percent of their shots from the field.

The Lakers had hoped to bag another win against the Jazz, but the team struggled out the gate, scoring just 23 points in the first quarter.

The Lakers looked vaguely different from the team that played a couple of days ago. Utah’s biggest lead against the Lakers on Saturday was five points. Monday night, Utah started the game with an 8-0 lead. Shooting from behind the arc seemed to be the Lakers’ saving grace.

During the first quarter, the home team made 6 out of 10 3-pointers (60%) which helped keep the team within six points of the Jazz at the end of the first period. By halftime, the Laker trailed the Jazz 52-42. By this time, the Lakers’ three-point shooting went into the tank. The Lakers made just 3 of 8 field attempts from the 3-point line in the second quarter, good enough for 37 percent.

Drummond also has a tough time. In his previous games, Drummond has easily fit in with his new team. It was Drummond’s inspired play Saturday that helped drive the Lakers to their 35th win of the season. Monday just wasn’t one of those nights. While Drummond flourished in Saturday night’s game against the Jazz, he looked like a completely different player against the Jazz, and against one player in particular: Gobert.

At the start of the fourth quarter, Drummond had logged in 23 minutes of playing time but had only scored six points up to that point. The Lakers entered the final quarter trailing by 20 points, 85-65. With the Lakers still awaiting the return of James and Davis, Drummond was supposed to be an addition that would help keep the Lakers in the running for another championship.

Monday night against the Jazz was a speedbump for Drummond and the Lakers because he didn’t show up. It just wasn’t an off night for Drummond. Collectively, as a team, the Lakers didn’t get it done against Utah. With Gobert leading the way for the Jazz with 10 rebounds, Utah outplayed the Lakers on the glass with a 42-32 advantage on the boards.

Despite a losing effort against the Jazz, some players still managed to shine for the Lakers. Kentavious Caldwell Pope had a second consecutive game where he made at least five 3-pointers. Impassively, Caldwell-Pope scored all of his 15 points from three-point land. in Talen Horton-Tucker scored a team-high 24 points in his 28 minutes of playing time. He also had four rebounds, two assists, and two blocks.

Horton-Tucker and Caldwell-Pope’s stats weren’t enough to help the Lakers catch up. The Lakers closed their 20 point deficit to six points Utah eventually pulled away for their 43rd win (43-15) on the season. The Lakers look to dust the dirt off their shoulders and gain another win as they head to Dallas for back-to-back games at the start of a four-game road trip.

Featured Image: April 19, 2021, Los Angeles, California, USA: Quinn Cook #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks to put up a shot during their regular season NBA game with the Utah Jazz on Monday April 19, 2021 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Lakers lose to Jazz, 97-111. (Photo by PI/Zuma Press/Icon Sportswire)