Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Lakers: Postgame Grades and Analysis for Lakers

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistDecember 28, 2013

Dec 27, 2013; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Chris Kaman (9) drives to the basket while being guarded by Utah Jazz power forward Derrick Favors (15) during the first quarter at EnergySolutions Arena. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports
Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers fell to 13-17 with a 105-103 loss to the Utah Jazz on Friday night. They've now lost four games in a row.

After Jordan Hill tied the game at 103 with 18 seconds to go, the Lakers were unable to lock down on defense and box out Derrick Favors, who punctuated Utah's ninth win of the season with a put-back slam with less than three seconds remaining. 

"You can fault the hustle from our guys," head coach Mike D'Antoni said referring to his team's effort on Utah's final possession, according to Lakers Nation's Serena Winters. 

Nick Young was one of six Lakers to finish in double figures, pouring in 21 points off the bench, while Gordon Hayward led the Jazz with 24 points on 9-of-17 shooting. 

The Lakers shot a steady 50 percent from the field in the loss but managed just 16-of-23 from the free-throw line, which wound up being the difference. Utah converted on 80 percent of its looks from the stripe and assisted on 25 of 40 made field goals. 


Key Players

Nick Young, Sixth Man

One of the few sources of true off-the-dribble scoring on Friday night, Young came off the bench to do his patented brand of entertaining, instant offense.

Young's 21 points on 10-of-17 shooting in 28 minutes led all scorers, and his intensity on both ends of the floor helped contribute to a 9-0 Lakers run in the third quarter. In fact, during a brief stretch in the third, Young scored or assisted on 13 straight L.A. points. 

Although the Lakers offense didn't move the ball particularly well, Young found plenty of ways to score in isolation before fouling out with 5:45 remaining in the fourth quarter. 

It's also worth noting that Young committed four turnovers while dishing out just three assists in the loss. 

Grade: B+

Dec 27, 2013; Salt Lake City, UT, USA; Los Angeles Lakers point guard Jordan Farmar (1) brings the ball up the court against the Utah Jazz during the first quarter at EnergySolutions Arena. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports
Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

 Jordan Farmar, Point Guard

Jordan Farmar saw an opportunity to make life difficult for rookie Trey Burke, who's been rather underwhelming on the defensive end of the floor so far this season. In fact, Burke's defensive rating of 114 is the worst of any Jazz player who's logged more than 500 minutes, according to Basketball-Reference

Burke looked overwhelmed by Farmar from the opening tip, so it should come as no surprise that the latter finished the opening quarter with seven points and three assists. The rook especially had trouble in keeping the 27-year-old Farmar from executing in pick-and-roll sets. 

Ultimately, Farmar finished with 16 points, a team-high seven assists, seven rebounds and three steals after managing just three points on 1-of-7 shooting on Christmas Day against the Miami Heat. He also looked mighty comfortable handling the ball and guided the Lakers offense with a steady hand throughout the night. 

To his credit, Burke held his own on the offensive end, dropping in 14 points on 60 percent shooting while dishing out seven assists.

Grade: A-


Jodie Meeks, Shooting Guard

The looks were there all night for Jodie Meeks, but he simply couldn't convert. 

On a night when the Lakers really could have used his reliable catch-and-shoot capabilities, Meeks converted on 4-of-15 shots, including 3-of-9 from beyond the arc and finished with 13 points.

Meeks was an active presence in transition and got his hands in passing lanes throughout (three steals). But he blew several key scoring opportunities that could have made the difference in such a tightly contested game.

Grade: D


Chris Kaman, Center

With Pau Gasol absent due to an upper respiratory infection, Chris Kaman received his fifth start of the season on Friday, and boy did he look to make the most of it. In nine first-quarter minutes, Kaman worked his way towards an eventual double-double with eight points and five boards. 

Kaman, who was averaging 17.3 minutes per game entering Friday night, scored a season-high 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting and pulled down 10 rebounds in 30 minutes. He was also the first Laker into double figures midway through the second quarter and poured in a team-high 15 points and eight rebounds in the first half. 

However, the Lakers' interim starting center didn't offer much in terms of pick-and-roll defense, although he did block three shots on the night. 

Grade: A


Wesley Johnson, Small Forward

Along with Robert Sacre, Wes Johnson was one of two Lakers who failed to enter the scoring column on Friday. And not only did Johnson finish the night without a point, he failed to pull down a rebound or dish out an assist, as well.  

The only statistic of note from Johnson's otherwise lackluster effort was that he was a team-best plus-five in the first half.

Grade: F


Shawne Williams, Power Forward

This was your standard Shawne Williams performance. He managed four points and missed all four of his attempts from beyond the arc. He has not scored in double-figures since dropping 10 points against the Toronto Raptors back on Dec. 8.  

When his shot isn't falling, Williams becomes a pretty serious liability on both ends of the floor. 

Grade: D

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - DECEMBER 27:  Xavier Henry #7 of the Los Angeles Lakers shoots against the Utah JAzz at EnergySolutions Arena on December 27, 2013 in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and
Melissa Majchrzak/Getty Images


Xavier Henry scored in double figures for the fifth straight game, dropping in 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting in a very nice showing off the bench against a Utah team that entered the night ranked dead-last in terms of defensive efficiency. His pull-up jumper looked strong, particularly early in the fourth quarter. 

The Purple and Gold's other key bench contributor was Jordan Hill, who in 23 minutes scored 16 pointsincluding 13 in the fourth quarterand grabbed nine rebounds.

Rookie Ryan Kelly logged more than 10 minutes for the second straight game and second time this season and finished with two points. 

Grade: B+


What's Next?

The Lakers will host the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night at Staples Center in what will be the second of four games against teams who are in last place in their respective divisions. 


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