The Los Angeles Lakers were only one game ahead of the Utah Jazz before their showdown on Monday night. The Jazz have been struggling just as much as the Lakers, in what should have been a close game. While the Jazz got off to a good start, a huge fourth quarter by the Lakers blew the game wide open.
The Lakers have shown that they can score in spurts, and tonight was no different. Nick Young was nearly unstoppable, scoring 41 points. He was able to get to the rim with ease and his outside shot was falling. Jordan Hill got into the mix as well, hitting almost every mid-range jumper that he took. Kendall Marshall returned to form by dishing out 15 assists, completing a well-rounded effort by the team.
The victory means that the Lakers will likely finish the season with the sixth-worst record in the NBA. A loss would have moved them into a three-way tie for the fourth-worst record with the Jazz and the Boston Celtics. With a stacked draft class, this would only have improved their chances to find the next young superstar to carry the team after Kobe Bryant decides to retire. There are several players at the top of the draft that the Lakers would love to have, but they will have to see how lucky they are with the lottery.
The Lakers’ organization will not be complaining with the victory, something that they have been able to achieve sporadically throughout the season. While struggling in the first quarter, the team started to play together and looked like they were enjoying themselves on the court. The offense was free-flowing, and everybody was getting into the mix. While the Jazz got plenty of open looks and shot over 50 percent from the field, they were unable to do anything on the defensive end. A positive effort reduces their chances of securing a high pick, but the win injects a little bit of energy back into the franchise.