On Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Lakers won their second game in a row, topping the Utah Jazz 100-97 with rookie Jordan Clarkson leading all scorers and setting a new career-high with 22 points.
Through the first 43 minutes and 58 seconds, the Lakers never tasted the lead. Utah led by double digits at multiple points in the game, but the Lakers continued to rally and put forth effort. In the fourth quarter, the Jazz opened up a 13-points lead, but the Lakers again fought back late to take a lead. A sloppy finish would end with made free throws and Gordon Hayward failing to launch a potential game-tying three pointer before the final buzzer.
On the night, Clarkson had the best game of his young career. He made 10 of his 16 shots for 22 points to go along with four rebounds, three assists and two steals. In addition to being a standout player on the winning team, Clarkson also provided the highlight of the night with a poster dunk over fellow rookie Dante Exum.
On the play, Clarkson stole the ball on Exum's pass and ran down to the opposite end. When Utah's first round pick challenged the Lakers' second round pick at the rim, two beat one. Not only did the rookie finish through the contact, but he also came down flexing his muscles and posing like a body builder.
In the head-to-head rookie match up, Clarkson topped Exum by some distance, as the fifth overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft finished with only three points, there assists and two turnovers.
For the Lakers, starting shooting guard Wayne Ellington also continued his development by recording the first double-double of his career. Ellington finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds. The 27-year-old would finish as one of five Lakers to score in double figures.
Off the bench, Ed Davis finished with 12 points and nine rebounds, and Jordan Hill found his jump shot to the tune of 16 points. Over all, the bench and the starters fought on the road and refused to lose despite trailing big.
From a development standpoint, Wednesday night was a step forward. Next, the Lakers host the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night at Staples Center.
Notes: The Lakers only committed 10 turnovers compared to 21 turnovers for the Jazz. This is the Lakers' first two-game winning streak since Dec. 14, over two months earlier. The Lakers moved to 15-41 on the season and continue to hold the fourth worst record in the NBA.