SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – The Utah Jazz hopes of making the play-in tournament are hanging by a thread.
LeBron James scored 37 points as the Los Angeles Lakers held off the Jazz in overtime Tuesday night, 135-133. Utah needs to win its last three games, have Oklahoma City lose its last two, and Dallas to drop two of its last three to have a chance at the postseason.
Anthony Davis tallied 21 points and 14 rebounds for the Lakers. Austin Reaves added 28 points. Five players scored in double figures to help Los Angeles win for the seventh time in eight games.
Kelly Olynyk finished with 23 points, seven rebounds and seven assists to lead Utah (36-43). Talen Horton-Tucker added 23 points and seven assists for the Jazz. Horton-Tucker has scored 123 points over his last four games. Ochai Agbaji chipped in 22. The Jazz lost for the seventh time in eight games.
Collin Sexton returned to action after missing 18 games with a hamstring strain, and scored 15 points and had three assists in 16 minutes.
“The guys hung tough, and a lot of players played well,” said Jazz head coach Will Hardy. “We had seven guys in double figures with 29 assists. I thought a lot of guys participated in tonight’s game.”
James drove for a go-ahead layup with 27 seconds left to help the Lakers escape with a win. Los Angeles held Utah without a basket over the final 1:38 after Olynyk gave the Jazz a 132-129 lead on a three.
Utah rallied from a double-digit deficit after shooting 71% from the field in the third quarter. The Jazz finally took their first second-half lead on back-to-back baskets from Collin Sexton and Luka Samanic, going up 99-97 early in the fourth quarter.
Los Angeles retook the lead on back-to-back baskets from Dennis Schroder and James and went up 124-114 with 1:43 left in the fourth quarter on eight straight points from Reaves.
Utah countered with an 10-0 run to force overtime. Olynyk scored a basket and assisted two others and Jones knotted the score on a pair of free throws with 11.4 seconds remaining in regulation.
“LeBon made a big play down the stretch,” Hardy said. “But I thought we made big plays as well. The margins are very thin in an NBA game, especially when you play a good team. We were one shot away from feeling way different than we feel right now.”
Samanic made his first start of the season, finishing with 12 points.
The Jazz were without All-Star Lauri Markkanen (wrist) and starting center Walker Kessler (concussion).
The Jazz face a must-win situation Thursday night at home against Oklahoma City.