LeBron leads surging Lakers past Jazz
Although the Los Angeles Lakers haven’t won many games with defense over the last half-decade, LeBron James can inspire his new teammates to all sorts of feats that seemed impossible not too long ago.
James had 22 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, and he seized control of an ugly game with nine points in the fourth quarter of the Lakers’ seventh win in eight games, 90-83 over the Utah Jazz on Friday night.
Brandon Ingram scored 24 points while the Lakers struggled in their first game back from an Eastern Conference road trip, but still persevered to earn the final win in this franchise’s first 7-1 stretch since the last eight games of the 2012-13 season.
Although the Lakers have shown signs of being a dynamic offensive team around James, there wasn’t a sign to be seen against the undermanned Jazz, other than Ingram’s uncommonly aggressive performance. The Lakers committed a season-high 24 turnovers and managed just 10 assists all night, struggling to get out on the break and foundering in half-court sets.
So they produced one of their best defensive games of the season, holding Utah to the fewest points scored by an LA opponent since last February.
“There’s going to be games where you just don’t shoot the ball well, and tonight we turned the ball over,” James said. “We’re trying to be a really good team, and there’s going to be games where we’ve got to do it defensively. Tonight we did that.”
Neither team took a commanding lead in the second half until James hit a layup and a 3-pointer on consecutive possessions with 3:15 to play. James then blocked a shot by Alec Burks in the final seconds as Los Angeles held on to snap its sevengame skid against Utah.