In a game devoid of any and all star power, Dennis Schroder took up the mantle.
He led the Los Angeles Lakers to a 127-115 overtime win over the Utah Jazz on Saturday, with LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert and Mike Conley Jr. all missing the game due to injuries.
It appeared the Jazz might have stolen a road win after erasing a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter following Jordan Clarkson's go-ahead three with just under 10 seconds remaining. Utah's comeback was aided by 23 made threes (on a whopping 59 attempts).
But Schroder's layup on the other end tied the game and sent it to overtime, where the Lakers finished things off.
Any good vibes for the Lakers after the win were somewhat subdued by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope appearing to suffer a leg injury in the final minute following a layup. He did walk back to the bench under his own power, however.
The game didn't have an immediate impact on the standings—the Jazz (42-15) remain first in the Western Conference, a game ahead of the Phoenix Suns. And the Lakers (35-22) are still in fifth, 1.5 games behind the Denver Nuggets in fourth and two games ahead of the Portland Trail Blazers in sixth.
But with both teams trying to earn crucial seeding—the Jazz would love to have homecourt advantage through the playoffs, while the Lakers don't want to drop below the No. 6 seed and face the uncertainty of the play-in tournament—each game is important and every win matters.
Even, and perhaps especially, when there aren't any stars available to aid in the cause.
Andre Drummond, LAL: 27 points, eight rebounds, three assists, two steals, one block
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, LAL: 25 points, eight assists
Dennis Schroder, LAL: 25 points
Jordan Clarkson, Utah: 27 points
Ersan Ilyasova, Utah: 20 points (6-of-8 from three), four steals, two blocks
Joe Ingles, Utah: 20 points, 14 assists
Andre Drummond And Dennis Schroder Picked Up The Slack
With James and Anthony still sidelined, the Lakers needed someone to step up and lead the way. Drummond and Schroder did their part to provide that spark.
Schroder was particularly good late, scoring L.A.'s final six points in regulation—including the game-tying layup—after the team blew its big lead.
He turned playmaker in overtime, dishing three assists in the extra frame to go along with two points. An excellent showing from Schroder.
Call Him Ersan Curryasova
You know Clarkson would get his for the Jazz with no Mitchell or Conley in the backcourt. He's been great off the bench all season. But Ilyasova?
Well, that was unexpected. But he came out on fire, sinking five three-pointers in the first quarter alone while tying a career high with six makes from beyond the arc.
Mitchell was among those loving it:
Oh, and then there was this:
Ilyasova had played in all of eight games this season coming into Saturday. He sure made the most of No. 9. It was exactly the sort of performance the undermanned Jazz needed.
These teams will meet again Monday in Los Angeles at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN.