The last time the Jazz beat the Lakers at the Staples Center, Keith McLeod was starting over Deron Williams, Robert Whaley was an NBA player and not a future inmate, and Gordon Giricek/Greg Ostertag were still playing meaningful minutes. They won by 4 points due in large part to Kobe Bryant’s absence because of a suspension. Only two of the players that played that day (Okur and AK) are even on the team anymore, and nobody from that Jazz team played a single minute in last night’s game. In other words it has been a long time since the Jazz beat the Lakers on their home court, which might be better said with fact that it has been 16 straight regular season and postseason home wins for the Lakers over the Jazz.
That is why last’s night win was very satisfying regardless of the context. It doesn’t matter that the Jazz are out of the playoff hunt or that the win really just pushes them closer to the 13th pick in the draft instead of the 12 pick. It doesn’t matter that the Jazz could have used this win 100 times more in any of the three playoff series. I am going to be happy today knowing that in a lost season, the Jazz at least beat the Lakers. Some thoughts from the game:
- Gordon Hayward: Can he really be a productive NBA player? I still have my reservations, but there are some good things about his game that even the most negative Jazz fan has to recognize. He is young, athletic and has been improving his shooting, defense and passing. Last night, he was especially impressive driving to the middle of the paint and either scoring himself or throwing a great pass to one of the post players.
- The 3 Headed Power Forwards: It might only be the matchups against the Lakers, but for one game playing Millsap, Favors and Jefferson at the same time actually worked.
- Derrick Favors: I like his defense, rebounding and potential, but he needs to spend this offseason making 500 free throws a day. It was painful watching him go 2-8 from the line last night.
- I will never get why NBA players complain about a call that is unquestionably obvious against them. Derek Fisher is one of the worst offenders of this. How could he complain so much about tapping the ball out of bounds or the no call when he pulled Watson down before Jefferson’s dunk?
Anyway, there will be a time to review all that has gone wrong with this season, but right now I am going to enjoy last night’s win.