Gordon Hayward showed early on Thursday night in a win vs. the Lakers that he was well deserving of his first All-Star selection, sporting 24 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and a steal. Rudy Gobert, who you could argue, might have been snubbed from the All-Star team in the Western conference, made his presence shown, especially in the first half, posting 6 points, cleaning up on the glass, with 7 boards and also swatting 2 shots in the process. I think media and Jazz fan alike knew it would be a stretch to get two Jazz players into the festive exhibition, but Gobert did his best on the court Thursday evening, to make people think twice about not putting him the game.
This wasn’t an easy game for the Jazz to win though. Not that any game is “easy” to win in the NBA, but with some rest and the Lakers coming in off a loss the night before in Portland, things seemed liked they’d shape up the Jazz’ favor.
With 5:22 to go in the 3rd quarter, it seemed that was beginning to happen for the Jazz. After trailing for much of the 3rd quarter, Utah found themselves down only, 56-55, after a 3 ball from Gordon Hayward erased a 4 point deficit. That would be the last time the Jazz would trail the rest of the game. The Jazz used a 18-4 run to close out the quarter and never looked back from there. Rudy Gobert went from 2 blocks at half, to adding 3 more to his total by the end of quarter, in a quarter, that saw only 19 Lakers points scored, to the Jazz’ 26, as the home town team led, 70-60, going into the final period, that also had it’s fair share of excitement.
The Jazz seemed all but 12 minutes away from their 30th win in 48 tries, but the Lakers made one last stitch effort and even got this game to as close as 3 points, but timely scoring from Hayward and unsung hero Boris Diaw, seemingly put Los Angeles away for good, dropping their record to 16-34 on the season.
With the victory, the Utah Jazz improve to 30-18 on the season and snapped their brief 2 game losing streak and have now won 7 of their last 9 games, while now occupying the 5th seed in the Western Conference, just a half game behind the Clippers and a game and a half ahead of the Thunder, who have now won 3 games in a row.
Up next for the Jazz is matchup at home vs. the Memphis Grizzlies, who are right on the Jazz’ trail at 27-20 on the season. The last time these two team met, it was in Memphis and the Grizzlies picked up an 88-79 victory to even the season series at a game a piece.
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