LeBron leads surg­ing Lak­ers past Jazz

Miami Herald (Sunday) - - Nba - From Mi­ami Herald Wire Ser­vices

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.

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