LOS ANGELES (ABC4 Sports) – Game by game, victory by victory, the Utah Jazz are showing this fast start to the season is no fluke.
Lauri Markkanen had 27 points and 12 rebounds, Jordan Clarkson added 20 points, and the Utah Jazz continued their remarkable start to the season with a 130-116 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night.
Kelly Olynyk had 18 points and Mike Conley added 15 points and 10 assists for the first-place Jazz, who are off to a 7-3 start to a season in which they were widely expected to struggle. Utah blew most of a big lead in the third quarter, but surged to victory down the stretch while getting at least seven points from eight players.
The 130 points is the most the Jazz have scored in regulation this season, and is the most points given up by the Lakers so far this year.
“Again, it’s a night where we had a lot of different guys contribute at a lot of different times in the game,” Jazz coach Will Hardy said. “It’s just another testament to the group, and to doing it as a group.”
Russell Westbrook had 28 points and six assists in another strong performance in a reserve role for the Lakers, who dropped to 2-6 after their two-game winning streak ended. Los Angeles has not won three consecutive games since Jan. 7.
LeBron James had 17 points and 11 rebounds in a strained effort while still recovering from an illness and dealing with pain in his left foot. Anthony Davis scored 20 of his 22 points in the first half.
The Jazz have been the surprise of the league through 10 games. With aggressive play and gritty scoring across its lineup, Utah has beaten a series of higher-regarded teams.
“Every night, we’re getting more familiar with each other as a group, and they’re getting more familiar with me,” Hardy said. “We threw some different things out there tonight, and our guys executed it.”
The Lakers have been a solid defensive team during their terrible start to the season, but they couldn’t keep up with Utah’s pace or shooting accuracy in the first half. The Jazz hit more than 60% of their shots — including nine 3-pointers — and committed just three turnovers with their up-tempo, balanced attack.
Utah went up by 16 in the third quarter before Westbrook led the Lakers nearly all the way back, scoring nine points and leading a 24-10 run while keying Los Angeles’ effort on both ends.
Jazz forward Talen Horton-Tucker got a tribute video during the first timeout. Horton-Tucker played the past three seasons with the Lakers after they drafted him in 2019, and he played a reserve role on their championship team in the Florida bubble in 2020. He was traded to Utah for Patrick Beverley in August.
The Jazz wrap up its 3-game road trip Sunday night in L.A. against the Clippers.