With LeBron James and Anthony Davis still on the mend, the Los Angeles Lakers have figured out a way to keep stacking wins.
As Lakers head coach Frank Vogel preaches, it starts with defense.
L.A.’s 127-115 overtime victory over the visiting Utah Jazz on Saturday at Staples Center was just the latest example of that defensive identity built during the team’s NBA championship run last season.
“I was proud of our guys for following the changing schemes throughout the game,” Vogel said. “Competing to take the game over and then not panicking when Utah made that run in the fourth quarter. We were able to not panic, force an overtime and secure the win.”
The Lakers forced 14 turnovers, grabbed eight steals and posted eight blocks on the afternoon. And they held the Jazz to 41.6 shooting from the field.
With the win, the Lakers improved to 4-1 in overtime games this season. The Jazz dropped to 0-3 in overtime games this year.
Schröder topped the Lakers with 25 points and seven rebounds. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope finished with 25 points, hitting 5 of 12 from behind the arc. With his fourth three pointer, Caldwell-Pope passed Eddie Jones for fifth all-time in team history in made three-pointers and finished the game with 491.
Montrezl Harrell finished with 12 points and seven rebounds.
The two teams went toe-to-toe, with 25 lead changes and 11 ties. Neither team led by more than five in the first half. However, the Lakers took a 65-62 lead into halftime and extended it to 12 points by the end of the third quarter.
The Lakers pushed that lead to 13 points early in the fourth, but the Jazz used a 15-0 run to retake the lead, 100-98 with just over four minutes left.
Schröder led the way for the Lakers down the stretch in regulation, with a key block and back-to-back baskets that gave the Lakers a one-point lead late.
Former Laker Jordan Clarkson hit a three-pointer from the wing to give the Jazz a two-point lead with 8.7 seconds left. However, Schröder drove the lane for an easy basket to force overtime. Clarkson finished with a game-high 27 points.
The Lakers outscored the Jazz 17-5 in extra time.
The Lakers upped their record to 35-22 on the season, while the Jazz dropped to 42-15. The Jazz still have not defeated the Lakers in Los Angeles since 2018. The two teams will face each other again on Monday at Staples Center.
Top player: Andre Drummond returned to the starting lineup after sitting out with a lingering right big toe contusion, finishing with 27 points and eight rebounds.
What I liked: The Lakers held a 64-38 advantage in paint points and outscored Utah’s bench 27-15.
What I didn’t like: The Lakers led by 13 in the fourth quarter but couldn’t close out the game in regulation.
Injuries: Caldwell-Pope suffered a right calf cramp late in overtime and limped to the locker room after the game was over. James (right, high-ankle sprain) and Davis (calf strain) remain out, but reportedly are close to returning by the end of the month.
They said it: “Dennis is a competitor. I’ve played against Dennis his whole career, and I’ve got a chance to watch him and play against him, and he’s always been that way his whole career. And to be his teammate now and see it first-hand, he’s an incredible player. He doesn’t give up. He plays every possession like it’s his last. And defensively he’s far more advanced than people give him credit for.” -- Andre Drummond on Schröder