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Home / Sports / LeBron James, defensive power Lakers behind jazz in home game – Orange County Register

LeBron James, defensive power Lakers behind jazz in home game – Orange County Register



LOS ANGELES – Danny Green could have been rude when he picked up the microphone before the Lakers were officially introduced for the first time.

"We promise to work hard on and off the field," said Green. "And we'll do better than last year."

In the long run, Los Angeles is hungry for another championship. But most fans packing at Staples Center just wanted the Lakers to do better than Tuesday night.

After losing to the Crosstown Clippers in the season opener, the Lakers (1-1) had the opportunity to set their favorite tone on their home ground on Friday. Their championship banners were revealed. Your pieces have been dropped. And at the first home game, they defeated the Utah Jazz 95-86.

The way this victory came in was choppy against one of the league's best defense mechanisms, but the Lakers have also overcome some of the structural changes this season. The leading scorers were LeBron James (32) and Anthony Davis (21), each whipping half of the offensive reins. Another 3-point specialist, acquired during the summer, ripped the nets from a distance.

The surprise came at the end of the defensive when the Lakers introduced the two-time defensive player of the year, Rudy Gobert, and his compatriots and forced 23 turnovers. The visitors were not portrayed, they shot only 41 percent (29 for 70), were on the offensive disc clock (only three options for the second chance) and drumming generally at the end of the offensive.

For many Utah stars it was a quiet night. Gobert only had eight points while Mike Conley's gunshot went on (3 for 11, 13 points), while he was guarded by Green and Avery Bradley.

The biggest threat to their first home win of the season was the firing threat from Donovan Mitchell. The Guard of the third year started with 7 to 11 from the field and braved the hard defense of the Lakers. But even he missed his last four shots when a comeback attempt stalled in the fourth quarter.

Neither of them could touch James, who had a vintage performance while adding 10 assists and seven rebounds. He turned up the heat in the second half with contested layups, stepback jumpers and other punches that simply did not fall into the opener against the clippers. James said he had to turn into aggression late in the first half.

"I felt I was trying to read the defense a bit too much, rather than being my normal self, just trying to play a reading and reaction game rather than rethinking it," said he. "When I saw that the game was slowing down, I felt that it was a need for our team to bring a little more color into the game."

It was a change from the first half, as the only working part of Davis's offense was, despite Gobert's physical struggles. Davis' increasing chemistry with his teammates was to be seen on a few praises that he had caught in the course of the game by James, but as a unit, the Lakers fought. During a 6½-minute track, they only scored two points in a Quinn Cook layup, as jazz kept the game moving at a rapid pace.

In an effort to find a more dynamic team, coach Frank Vogel switched the starters off in the second half and replaced Davis in the middle to replace JaVale McGee for guard Alex Caruso – a healthy scratch at the season opener.


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