NBA

Thanksgiving Hangover? Lakers Survive Against Jazz in Low Scoring Affair

LeBron James scored 22 points and the Los Angeles Lakers survived a sloppy game, defeating the Utah Jazz, 90-83, on Friday night at Staples Center.

Maybe it was the tryptophan.

LeBron James scored 22 points and the Los Angeles Lakers survived a sloppy game, defeating the Utah Jazz, 90-83, on Friday night at Staples Center. 

"First of all the first game after a road trip is always tough, and even more so, the first game after Thanksgiving is even tougher," said James. "We need to clean up some of our passes...and we'll get better with that."

The Thanksgiving hangover was evident early as both teams got off to a slow and sluggish start, as they went into the intermission tied 38-38. The 76 total combined points was among the lowest scored in a half in the NBA this season. 

The 90 points the Lakers scored was a season low, with their previous low 107 points. However, they held Utah to just 83 points, their lowest total allowed this season.

"You're not always going to shoot the ball well," said point guard Lonzo Ball. "The offense ins't always going to be clicking, but you always can play defense, regardless of what happens. That's what we did today and pulled out a good win."

The low-scoring affair was sloppy from start to finish as both teams combined to commit 43 turnovers.

"It was not a pretty win, but we won it with our defense tonight," said Lakers head coach Luke Walton.

Two days after committing 15 turnovers in a victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Lakers turned the ball over a season-high 24 times in their first game back from a three-game Eastern Conference road trip. They managed just 10 assists in their win over the Jazz.

"I don't think we have an excuse for it," said Brandon Ingram of the season-high 24 turnovers. "I think it was one of those nights where we didn't take care of the basketball."

Both teams combined to shoot 11-for-46 (23 percent) from beyond the arc. 

James finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists. Brandon Ingram had a game-high 24 points for the Lakers, and JaVale McGee had 12. No other Laker scored in double figures. 

"Maybe it was Thanksgiving," joked Ingram. "Everyone was a little overweight probably, everyone except for me. I don't know. I really can't pinpoint it, but we picked it up on the defensive end and that helped us out."

Joe Ingles led the Jazz with 16 points and eight rebounds. Rudy Gobert chipped in 13 points and seven rebounds, and Alec Burks had 17 points off the bench in the loss. 

Jazz star Donovan Mitchell left the game in the second quarter with rib contusion and did not return to the game.

"He's our leading scorer and it impacts the game, but it's not a crutch or an excuse," said Jazz head coach Quin Snyder over losing Mitchell. "I like the fact we kept competing. Joe [Ingles] had an excellent game attacking. Alec Burks got to the rim. Other guys just have to pick it up."

The Lakers victory snapped a six-game losing streak against the Jazz overall, with their last win coming on April 13, 2016, the infamous Kobe Bryant 60-point performance in his final NBA game.

The Lakers have won seven of their last eight games, and are 9-2 in their last 11 games. They sit a game out of first place in the Western Conference.

"Everyone loves instant oatmeal, but greatness is not appreciated that way," concluded James. "You have to work through your habits and get better and better every month, and so far we've done that this season."

TIP-INS

Jazz: Mitchell was 2 of 9 and committed two turnovers before his injury. ... Rudy Gobert had 13 points and seven rebounds. 

Lakers: Josh Hart played 14 scoreless minutes despite a strained tendon in his left ankle. ... After returning at 4 a.m. Thanksgiving morning from a trip to Florida and Cleveland, Los Angeles has begun a stretch with six of seven at Staples Center. ... JaVale McGee had 12 points, and Ball added nine points and 10 rebounds. 

UP NEXT

Jazz: At the Sacramento Kings on Sunday.

Lakers: Host the Orlando Magic on Sunday.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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