The good news for the Lakers -- they gained in the lottery chase to one of their direct competitors. The bad news -- Steve Nash couldn't get through a full game (back) and the Lakers lost at home to the Utah Jazz, 96-79.
After pulling ahead in the first quarter by 15, the Lakers were out-scored by 22 in the second. While they closed the gap slightly in the third, Utah had little trouble putting the Lakers away at Staples Center on Tuesday night.
Alec Burks scored 24 off the bench to lead the Jazz. Gordon Hayward contributed 15 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. The Jazz had a 25-13 free throw attempt advantage while out-rebounding the Lakers by 15 (55-40).
Chris Kaman notched a double-double with 25 points and 14 rebounds, but needed 24 shot attempts to get to 25. Wesley Johnson scored 15 and Shawne Williams, with 11, was the only other Laker in double figures.
Nash played just 16 1/2 minutes, skipping the second half because of discomfort in his leg and back, related to nerve root irritation. He finished with two points and two assists. The 40-year old guard also left early on Sunday when the Lakers lost to the Chicago Bulls.
Steve Blake struggled to hit shots, finishing with just five points on 2-11 shooting, although he did contribute eight assists. Kendall Marshall, who started the second half for Nash, scored seven on 3-13 shooting (with seven assists).
The Lakers (18-34) host the Oklahoma City Thunder (42-12) on Thursday night.
The Jazz (18-33) host the Philadelphia 76ers (15-38) on Wednesday. A win either way for the Lakers, who are "chasing" both Utah and Philadelphia for lottery position.
The Lakers trimmed Utah's lead to eight after three quarters.
At a team, the Jazz took 18 free throws to the Lakers' five. Utah also had a 41-30 rebounding advantage.
The Jazz dominated the Lakers in the second period, out-scoring the home team 32-10 to finish the half up 11.
Gordon Hayward led the Jazz with nine points, including a pair of free throws with 0.1 left in the second. Marvin Williams, Derrick Favors and Alec Burks scored seven apiece as the Utah shot 43.8% from the field.
The Lakers were led by Chris Kaman, notching a double-double in 19 minutes with 12 points and 10 rebounds.