Lakers suffer their 50th defeat of the season, 80-73 to Utah

Lakers suffer their 50th defeat of the season, 80-73 to Utah
Jazz forward Gordon Hayward tries to steal the ball from Lakers center Jordan Hill in the second half. (Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

The Lakers had beat the Jazz the last time the teams played, in Utah last month, which only seemed to inspire the Jazz to win nine of 11 games since that defeat.

So when the teams met Thursday night at Staples Center, the Lakers were unable to duplicate the feat in dropping an 80-73 game to the Jazz.

The Lakers lost their fourth consecutive game, scoring a season low in points in the process.

Tarik Black had 13 points and 10 rebounds and Wesley Johnson had 12 points, but the Lakers still dropped to 17-50.

"It's the same story I've been telling the guys," Lakers Coach Byron Scott said. "If we don't trust each other and move the ball and do all the little things that we have to do, then it's a struggle. That's basically what it was."

The Lakers knew they were going up against one the NBA's best shot blockers in Utah's Rudy Gobert, a

7-foot-1 center with a long wingspan and the leaping ability to alter shots at the rim.

But that didn't mean the Lakers weren't going to attack Gobert, who entered the game averaging 2.8 blocks per game since he became a starter for the Jazz 14 games ago.


Rookie Jordan Clarkson was the first to try Gobert early in the first quarter, seeing his shot redirected in an easy manner.

Then Black went inside against Gobert, and Black also had his shot blocked later in the first.

Now that Gobert had the Lakers' full attention, Black went back inside and shot an awful-looking hook shot over Gobert, the ball floating over the rim for an airball.

But Black stepped up and dunked on Gobert a few plays later, drawing smiles from his teammates sitting on the Lakers' bench.

Black wasn't done, throwing down a dunk on Gobert on the fast break. As he ran back down court, Blake glared at Gobert.

A few plays later, Black tried to dunk on Gobert again, but the shot was blocked. The two stood next to each other while Jordan Hill shot two free throws and smiled, Black and Gobert acknowledging each other's play.

Gobert did finish with three blocked shots.

"As far as shots go, you have to take off quick or try to finish strong or float the ball as high as you can," Black said. "He's been one of the best shot blockers in the league since he's gotten that starting job."

Jeremy Lin of the Lakers had been dealing with back spasms, but was able to play 22:28 through his pain.

So it gave more playing time to Jabari Brown, whose 10-day contract expires Friday. Brown had seven points.

"I anticipate that he'll be back," Scott said about signing Brown to a second 10-day contract.

The Lakers couldn't stop Trey Burke late in the game. His back-to-back baskets gave the Jazz what turned out to be a comfortable five-point lead in the fourth. Burke finished with 17 points.