LeBron-less Lakers drop road game to Jazz – Orange County Register

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SALT LAKE CITY — It’s only been a few times so far this season, but the question the Lakers face whenever they’re without LeBron James is how will they fare offensively without their star forward.

So far this season: fairly well, with Saturday’s matchup against the Utah Jazz not being any different despite Anthony Davis struggling with his shot (15 points on 5-of-21 shooting) and ball security (six turnovers).

But as has been the case recently, it was the other end of the floor where the Lakers struggled, with the team falling to the red-hot Jazz 132-125 at Delta Center to continue their slide since winning the In-Season Tournament over a month ago.

“We played two-thirds of a good, really good basketball game, three-fourths, whatever you want to say,” coach Darvin Ham said. “And then we just, the fouls got away from us. We only had 12 turnovers, which is really, it’s good compared to the way we’ve been turning the ball over. But they were able to capitalize on a ton of them.”

And there wasn’t a play that encapsulated the Lakers’ recent struggles than the one that allowed the Jazz to take an 11-point lead in the fourth – their largest lead of the game.

After Christian Wood forced Jordan Clarkson to miss a layup, Davis rebounded the ball inside the paint and connected with D’Angelo Russell on a hit-ahead pass past halfcourt to spark a transition opportunity.

Russell drew two defenders near the rim, but his pass to a trailing Skylar Mays was off target, leading to Lauri Markkanen grabbing the steal, passing to Clarkson near the 3-point line, with Clarkson throwing a lob to Collin Sexton for an alley-oop to give the Jazz a 120-109 lead with 4:19 remaining.

“When you have live-ball turnovers,” Davis said, “it’s hard to defend that.”

The Lakers (19-21) kept fighting but didn’t cut their deficit any lower than seven in the final four minutes for their sixth loss in their last eight games and 12th in their last 17.

The Jazz (21-20), who were led by Markkanen’s 29 points, nine rebounds and five assists, moved to above .500 for the first time this season with the victory, their 14th win in their last 18 games.

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