Beat up the champion

The Angelenos only lasted 12 minutes and added, against the best team in the NBA, their fourth consecutive defeat. The champion's crisis worsens.


It would have been quite impressive if the Lakers, after losing to the Wizards and coming off a three-game losing streak, would have even fazed the Jazz. The best team in the NBA challenged the current champion from a position of superiority that they have rarely had in their history, one that allows them to deservedly look at everyone from above and show off as they have done against Lakers who have not been able to nor sow certain doubts. The game only had two changes of leadership and three draws and the Angelenos resisted the local attacks during the first 12 minutes before giving in to the offensive and defensive power of Quin Snyder's team, which between the second and third quarters had a favorable partial of 66-41, a +25 that would be the advantage with which the match would end. The Lakers soon lowered their arms in a mission that, for them and at the moment, was impossible, and gave in to the flood of a franchise that converted a spectacular 22 of 48 into triples (more than 45%), grabbed 53 rebounds for 45 of his rivals and distributed 11 more assists than them. Next to the NBA leaders, Frank Vogel's men seemed a sterile team, without soul or conviction, a streak that they will have to leave sooner or later if they do not want to have unwanted scares in a Western Conference in which the Suns (at the moment only they) are on their heels.

A streak of three consecutive triples, converted by Jordan Clarkson (who has 58 games in a row scoring at least one triple), Royce O'Neal and Mike Conley, put the Jazz up 10 early in the second period (35-25) . From there, Utah went forward without shame and the Lakers could not do anything: in the second quarter, they received an 8 of 11 in triples from the Salt Lake City team, in addition to losing 5 balls (14 in total). After the break, Vogel made adjustments and defended the outside shot better (2 of 11), but the Jazz showed their best defensive side and took advantage of a spectacular Los Angeles crisis to escape definitively on the scoreboard. The visitors scored, in the third quarter, 17 points ... with 5 of 21 in shots from the field and 1 of 13 in triples. What's more, only LeBron James, Markieff Morris and Montrezl Harrell scored in that period, almost more embarrassing than the last. Before entering the last 12 minutes, the JAzzs already had the game sentenced.

LeBron James was, again, very alone in the Los Angeles attack: 19 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists, but 4 losses, 1 of 5 in triples and -20 with him on the track. The star has already shown signs of fatigue in recent games and cannot bear the full weight of the team without Anthony Davis, who will remain in the dry dock, at least, until after the All Star. Only Morris, and Harrell, curiously the other two Players who scored in the third quarter, passed the ten points, with 12 and 16 respectively. In the rest, nothing: 3 of 12 in field goals for Talen Horton-Tucker, 1 of 5 for a Kentavious Caldwell-Pope who has gone from being one of the best shooting guards in the competition to a shadow, 2 of 5 for a missing Kyle Kuzma, 1 of 8 for Alex Caruso, 8 of 33 in triples, only 40% in field goals ... in short, an unflattering prospect in what is the fourth consecutive loss for the Lakers, the fifth in six games, a crisis in the game that lasts even longer (extra time against the Thunder and company) and a level far removed from the best teams in the competition, as the Jazz have amply demonstrated. And time to improve, of course. What's more, some have remembered that last year there was also a streak of four consecutive lost games ... and the Lakers won the ring. There it is.

And the Jazz? Well, his own thing: 22 wins in the last 24 games with a recent loss to the Clippers reinforcing Los Angeles' bad brother, one who is starting to be dangerously above the good. The rest, all games won for those of Quin Snyder, who will be the coach of an All Star in which Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert will be, but not Mike Conley (a fact for lovers of controversy). Against the Lakers, there were up to six players above ten points, an 18 + 9 from Gobert and a Mitchell (13 + 10 + 8) who did a bit of everything, like Conley (14 + 8 + 8) . Contribution of the bench, indiscriminate shooting of three and numerous comparisons with the Spurs who won the ring in 2014 and the Warriors who did the same in 2015. Of course, bigger words, although it is clear that Utah has legitimately shown its candidacy and governs with a fist iron the Western Conference while waiting patiently for the final part of the season, the one in which they will demonstrate if what they are doing is a mere mirage or is true. We'll see. For now, beat up the champion.

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