SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – While the Los Angeles Lakers have been extremely hindered by the loss of one player, the Utah Jazz balanced attack keeps rolling through the NBA.
Rudy Gobert and Jordan Clarkson each scored 18 points and the Jazz routed the Lakers 114-89 on Wednesday night for its 22nd win it its last 24 games.
Gobert also had nine rebounds for Utah (26-6), which has 20 victories by double-digits this season, the most in NBA history through 32 games. The Jazz have won 15 straight home games.
“It’s all about getting better,” Gobert said. “We did a great job sharing the ball offensively. When we defend and we share the ball, it’s hard to beat us.”
Bojan Bogdanovic added 15 points, Mike Conley had 14 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, and Donovan Mitchell finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists as six Jazz players scored in double figures.
Utah, which set a franchise record with 28 three-pointers on Monday against Charlotte, sank 22 of 48 (45.8%) shots from beyond the arc. They are the first team in NBA history to make 50 three-pointers over a two-game stretch.
“I wouldn’t say we’re surprised,” said Mitchell said about the team’s success. “We kind of expected this from us. Guys came back from the off-season locked in, and this is the team we wanted to be last year. We’re playing consistent basketball right now.”
“The fact that we have a lot of guys that are capable of making plays, and our team likes to play that way, that’s part of who we are and part of our identity,” Jazz head coach Quin Snyder said.
LeBron James scored 19 points and Montrzel Harrell added 16 to lead the Lakers (22-11), who lost their fourth straight and fifth in six games.
The 25-point loss is the Lakers’ worst of the season, as they were held to a season-low 89 points.
Conley scored all 14 points of his points in the first half, as the Jazz built a 16-point lead. Conley was hoping to be named to his first NBA All-Star Game, but did not make the team. He took out his frustrations on the Lakers.
“Man, it was tough,” said Conley, a 14-year veteran. “I really, really thought this was the year. I joked with the guys on the team that I blame them. We should have started the year 31-0. Maybe that would have given me a chance, but I don’t know what else to do.”
But Conley admits the ultimate prize is still ahead for the Jazz.
“It’s really unique to have the whole team buy in on a style of play, and a team of guys sacrificing for one another,” he said. “We’ve got a bunch of guys who could average 20 points a game. But on any night, we’ve got a whole bunch of guys who can step up.”
Back-to-back baskets from James and Marc Gasol gave the Lakers a 17-13 lead as Los Angeles hung with Utah for a quarter. But the final three quarters belonged to the Jazz.
Utah scored baskets on four straight possessions, starting with back-to-back buckets from Clarkson, to take a 35-25 lead early in the second quarter. Clarkson, Royce O’Neale and Conley each hit a 3-pointer in that stretch. That was a sneak preview of Utah’s barrage of outside baskets.
The Jazz made eight 3-pointers during the second quarter and shot 14 of 23 (.609) from long distance in the first half. They built a 63-47 halftime lead after Mitchell drained a 3 and Gobert followed with back-to-back baskets over Utah’s final three possessions of the half.
The Jazz slammed the door early in the third quarter when Gobert threw down back-to-back alley-oop dunks to extend Utah’s lead to 71-47.
Utah had 28 assists on 41 made baskets.
“They’re the hottest team in the league,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “Nobody’s playing as well as the Utah Jazz in the NBA right now, the way they’re shooting the ball, the way they’re connected defensively, the continuity bump that they’re getting by having the same team come back.”
Utah now heads out on a four-game road trip beginning Friday night at Miami.