After picking up a surprising victory over James Harden and the Houston Rockets on opening night in the NBA, Los Angeles Lakers fans had high hopes for the post-Kobe Bryant era. Unfortunately, that ended on Friday night. The Lakers were defeated by the Utah Jazz, as reported by ESPN.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) October 29, 2016
Utah Jazz starters
After last season, the Utah Jazz knew that they needed a veteran upgrade at the point guard position. They acquired George Hill from the Indana Pacers to see if he could provide a solution. Against the Los Angeles Lakers, Hill looked like he was the right choice. The eighth-year veteran put up 23 points and was able to get to the free throw line consistently.
Rodney Hood and Joe Johnson did not have the best of nights when it came to shooting. However, the duo were still able to provide a combined 26 points, 12 rebounds, and three assists. Hood and Johnson were a nice mixture of youth and veteran leadership against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Rudy Gobert was impressive with 13 points, 13 rebounds, and four blocks. The starting center for the Utah Jazz remains one of the unsung heroes in the NBA because he plays for a small market team. On the flip side, veteran power forward Boris Diaw had an uneventful evening. He might have been able to generate some attention with the dominant San Antonio Spurs, but he’ll remain vastly ignored with the Jazz.
Utah Jazz backups
In just 20 minutes off the bench, Derrick Favors was able to provide 15 points, nine rebounds, two blocks and two steals. If he can avoid getting five turnovers in a game, the 6-foot-11 power forward should be able to replace Boris Diaw in the starting lineup for the Utah Jazz pretty soon.
Former Atlanta Hawks point guard Shelvin Mack was pretty solid off the bench with nine points and four rebounds on efficient shooting. However, he did not do enough to convince Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder to give him more of the minutes provided to George Hill just yet.
Quin Snyder did give Dante Exum and Trey Lyles some minutes off the bench for the Utah Jazz, but neither guy did anything to prove that they deserve more of the playing time from the starters. They both failed to make an impact against a young Los Angeles Lakers roster.
Utah Jazz reserves
Out of the reserves, Joe Ingles was the only one that was allowed into the game. He did nothing noteworthy. Raul Neto, Joel Bolomboy, and Jeff Withey were kept on the bench during the game.
Los Angeles Lakers starters
D’Angelo Russell and Luol Deng took a combined 26 shots for the Los Angeles Lakers. They only managed to convert eight of those shots for a combined 21 points. The Lakers are going to struggle with winning games if that type of production continues. To his credit, though, Deng did pull down a dozen rebounds.
Nick Young and Julius Randle did combine for 20 points, but it was a quiet 20 points. They did very little to give the Los Angeles Lakers a chance to beat the Utah Jazz. Timofey Mozgov had eight points and six rebounds, but that type of production is not nearly enough to justify the approximately $64 million contract that the Lakers handed him.
Los Angeles Lakers backups
Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton decided to give plenty of minutes off the bench to Lou Williams and Jordan Clarkson. The former produced 17 points and six assists, which was helpful against the Utah Jazz. Unfortunately, though, Jordan Clarkson failed to provide much off the bench. Walton has praised Clarkson for being willing to come off the bench, but if he does not produce, then it is a moot point.
Marcelo Huertas and Larry Nance, Jr. were given some playing time off the bench, but they did not really make that big of an impact. Thomas Robinson played some trash minutes. Highly-touted rookie Brandon Ingram was only able to play four minutes for the Los Angeles Lakers before leaving the game with a knee injury.
Tarik Black produced eight points and seven rebounds in just 10 minutes of playing time, so Luke Walton might need to consider showcasing him a bit more in the next game.
Los Angeles Lakers reserves
Metta World Peace did not make it off the bench, but that should not be a surprise to anyone. The veteran small forward was on the verge of being released before Yi Jianlian asked for his release from the Los Angeles Lakers.
[Featured Image by Gene Sweeney, Jr./Getty Images]