Once upon a time you could count on one hand the number of times the Utah Jazz went into Los Angeles and beat the Lakers. Nowadays, however, wins by the Jazz in LA are easier to come by.
Although the Lakers put up a valiant fight at the STAPLES Center, they eventually succumbed to the Jazz persistent defense and Utah finally won a game, 102-100. Here are three reasons the Jazz broke their three-game losing skid in La La Land.
Three Point Ingles
Jazz wing Joe Ingles has been an anomaly all season. The Aussie from Down Under has definitely been down under the radar. But, against the Lakers it was Ingles who stepped up big, knocking down the game-winning basket from three point land with about 30 seconds left in the game. The former Barcelona star sharpshooter was Utah's second leading scorer on the night, putting in 13 points in 24 minutes on a respectable 5-of-8 from the field.
Escape From Hayward
Whatever magic potion Gordon Hayward takes before playing the Lakers, it works and he should keep guzzling the stuff. Because when the ex-Butler Bulldogs star plays in La La Land, it's as if he transforms into another player entirely—like some All-Star or something. Hayward's 31 points on just 10-of-17 shooting was insane enough. But his near-perfect 8-of-9 from the free throw line was even more impressive, giving the Jazz enough of what they needed to pull out the win.
On a night when the Jazz bigs nearly combined for as many turnovers as points, they needed another group to step in and fill the gap. Because down low, things didn't go well for either Rudy Gobert or Boris Diaw, who despite scoring in double figures turned the ball over 10 times. Their fumbling ways kept LA in the game. But, like Ingles, the Jazz field goal shooting carried them down the stretch—even when Rodney Hood (2 points) had his worst game in recent memory. Ingles, Joe Johnson and even Raul Neto contributed enough to keep the Jazz in the game when nothing was going right inside.