Alec Burks scored 24 points off the bench as the Utah Jazz routed the shorthanded Los Angeles Lakers, 96-79 at the Staples Center on Tuesday night, sending the Lakers to a franchise record-tying sixth straight home loss.
The Lakers, who were without Pau Gasol, Jodie Meeks, Nick Young and Jordan Farmar, jumped out to a quick start in this one, using a 27-5 run to take an 11-point lead into the second quarter. The lead evaporated almost immediately, however, and at halftime, it was the Jazz who were up by 11.
Things then worsened when Steve Nash went down. It was first reported by Los Angeles media that Nash had nerve root irritation (per Mike Trudell of Lakers.com), but after the game, head coach Mike D'Antoni said it was just his hamstring acting up.
Utah out-rebounded LA 55-40 and held D'Antoni's ballclub to 38.8 percent shooting.
Chris Kaman led the Lakers with 25 points and 14 rebounds.
Derrick Favors had a double-double for the Jazz, registering 11 points and 10 boards.
Free-falling Los Angeles has now fallen behind Utah in the Western Conference standings.
Key Player Grades
Steve Nash, Point Guard
Is there an athlete who deserves more sympathy than Steve Nash right now?
When Nash started out in this one, he actually looked all right.
But then, Nash hurt himself, and you know what? Based on Nash's injury history since coming to the Lakers, it felt like it was inevitable.
Nash checked out with two points and two assists while shooting 1-of-4 from the floor.
Obviously, it's not appropriate to give the veteran a grade.
Now, you have to really wonder whether it would just be best for Nash to hang 'em up. This is getting sad.
Chris Kaman, Center
You probably know that Chris Kaman really likes to shoot, and if you didn't, he made sure you did in this one. Early.
Kaman got up 10 shots in the first quarter alone, making four of them for eight points. He also pulled down seven rebounds in the period.
The big man actually had a really nice game all around, though.
Kaman scored 25 points off 11-of-24 shooting overall and grabbed 14 rebounds. He also handed out four assists and blocked three shots.
Most of all, Kaman provided a lot of energy, consistently battling on the offensive glass and doing his best to track down 50-50 balls.
Not bad for a guy who probably wouldn't even be playing if Pau Gasol were healthy.
Steve Blake, Shooting Guard
Steve Blake aggravated his elbow injury during the game. To his credit, he returned, but the results weren't pretty.
Blake shot 2-of-11 from the floor, misfiring on three of his four three-point attempts. A lot of the shots he missed were open looks, too. In his defense, the elbow was really bothering him.
Blake did dish out eight dimes, so at least there's that, but his inability to put the ball in the cup really hurt the injury-plagued Lakers.
He ended up with five points in 36 minutes.
He gets a bit of a break because of the injury.
Wesley Johnson, Small Forward
Wesley Johnson has been one of the quieter feel-good stories of this season.
The young man has finally made something out of his NBA career, and while he may never live up to his status as a No. 4 pick, he is turning into a productive player.
Johnson had 15 points off 7-of-14 shooting on the evening, including a highlight reel alley-oop slam which was undoubtedly the best moment of the night for LA.
Johnson also hauled in six rebounds.
Shawne Williams, Power Forward
From the Lakers, to the D-League, to, well, back to the Lakers.
Shawne Williams enjoyed a solid evening, posting 11 points off 4-of-8 shooting. He scored eight of those 11 in the first quarter where he knocked down a couple of triples.
Williams was active on the glass, as well, grabbing six boards. As an added bonus, he blocked two shots.
It's a shame such a nice effort went to waste.
Jordan Hill, Sixth Man
Jordan Hill really didn't do his job off the bench.
Normally a rebounding machine, Hill only collected one board in 17 minutes of action. He also went only 2-of-6 from the floor, scoring seven points.
There really isn't much else to add about Hill's performance, other than the fact that he posted a minus-20.
Kendall Marshall was simply awful against Utah, shooting 3-for-13, misfiring on all three of his long range attempts. He also committed four turnovers in 31 minutes.
Was there anything positive to take from Marshall's outing? Well, he did tally seven assists and three steals, but all of those missed shots and turnovers...not good.
Robert Sacre and Ryan Kelly also saw some minutes, and they combined for seven points and four boards.
Not exactly a banner night from the Lakers bench, but it's hard to blame these guys. I mean, hardly any of the regulars are healthy.
What's Next for the Lakers?
Well, it doesn't get any easier, as the Lakers' next two contests are against the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets. After that, they get a winnable game versus the Boston Celtics, but then the Brooklyn Nets, Indiana Pacers and Memphis Grizzlies, the latter two of those being on the road.
Not exactly a remedy to cure what currently ails L.A.
Gasol coming back soon would go a long way in doing that, however.
Hopefully, the Lakers can get some guys back from injury so they can be mildly competitive.