With this victory, the purple and gold clinched the No.1 seed in the Western Conference, as they now sit six games ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers.
The game was interesting al the way until the end of the third, once the LAL started pulling away. Utah had a 71-67 advantage, yet a 12-0 run of the Lakers saw them confidently ending this period, and having a double-digit edge while coming into the final 12 minutes.
Throughout the last sequence, the team from Los Angeles kept its lead confidently, not allowing the Jazzers to come down too close. There was a situation when Utah cut the deficit to six, in the last minute of the contest, but one of the biggest candidates for winning the trophy rebuffed that attempt, clinching the game.
The Lakers were better in several aspects of play. First, they shot 50% from the field, and they outscored the rivals from the paint, 58-44. That was mostly because of Anthony Davis, who had 42 points and 12 boards in 39 minutes.
The Eyebrow was demolishing Utah’s frontcourt, even though it stands for one of the best in the league when it comes to defense. Rudy Gobert is a back-to-back NBA Defensive Player of the Year winner, but he simply didn’t have any chance against AD tonight.
Davis added four assists, three steals, and a block, shooting 13-for-38 from the field, hitting four threes and 12 of his 15 free throws.
LeBron had 22 points and was very close to a triple-double, with 9 dimes and 8 rebounds. Dwight Howard added 11 with 5 rebounds.
Donovan Mitches was in the mood for playing on the other side, dropping 33 points, with five boards, missing just one of his 12 free throws. Mike Conley seems very good since the start of this tournament, and he added 24 points with 8 assists in tonight’s match, while Gobert had 16 with 13 boards. Royce O’Neale had the same number of rebounds, with 5 points, and assists each and four steals.
Up next, the Jazzers are playing against the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday, and they need to win that one. Right now, they are 42-25, half a game ahead of the Thunder and half a game behind the Rockets.
Meanwhile, the Lakers are meeting Oklahoma on the same day.