LOS ANGELES (ABC4 Sports) – On a night in which the Jazz defense played up to its capabilities, the offense could not get on track.
Playing without leading scorer Donovan Mitchell, who suffered a rib contusion, for the entire second half, the Jazz offense struggled in a 90-83 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The loss is Utah’s fifth in their last six games, as they dropped to 8-11 on the year.
LeBron 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.
Mitchell scored four points before he bruised his ribs in the second quarter and didn’t return, depriving the Jazz of their top producer and compounding their already formidable offensive struggles. The Jazz won’t provide an update on Mitchell’s condition before Saturday.
”He’s our leading scorer, so it impacts the game,” Utah coach Quin Snyder said. ”It’s not a crutch or an excuse. I liked the fact that we kept competing.”
Alec Burks came off the bench to lead the Jazz with 17 points, but the team made just 4 of 23 three-point attempts, and just 38.8 percent from the field overall.
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.
The Jazz defense forced the Lakers into committing a season-high 24 turnovers, but the Jazz could not take advantage, committing 19 turnovers themselves.
“We executed on the defensive end,” Snyder said. “Our guys played with energy, we did a lot of things very well defensively. So nothing to be ashamed of or discouraged by. We wanted to win, but I thought we really played the way we’ve been looking to play on the defensive end. There’s nights you’re not going to get rewarded for that.”
”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 seven-game skid against Utah.
“It’s hard to win when you don’t make shots,” said Jazz point guard Ricky Rubio, who made just 3 of 12 shots from the field and finished with 7 points. “We’ve had some off nights lately, and we just have to stay aggressive. We have to get more easy shots.”
Joe Ingles had 16 points, while Rudy Gobert added 13 points and 7 rebounds in the team’s third straight loss.
The Jazz next play at Sacramento Sunday night.