For the Los Angeles Lakers, their game against the Utah Jazz on Friday night at EnergySolutions Arena came down to two plays.
L.A. didn’t make either one in the final seconds and ended up losing, 105-103.
After tying the game, 103-103, the Lakers needed a defensive stop to force overtime.
Utah scored the go-ahead basket, however, when Gordon Hayward drove past Xavier Henry. His layup over a leaping Jordan Hill missed, but the Jazz’s Derrick Favors was alone for the putback. He gave Utah a two-point lead with 2.1 seconds remaining.
Coach Mike D’Antoni didn’t blame Henry or Hill for their defense on the go-ahead basket.
“That’s the reaction that players have,” D’Antoni said. “Yeah, it may be better if [Hill] didn’t [leave Favors]. But also, ‘X’ could have peeled off.
“Once Hayward got by him and you’re chasing, then you could peel off and knock Favors off. But those are instincts. Those things happen and you can’t fault the hustle from our guys.”
The Lakers still had time to force overtime or, with a 3-pointer, win in regulation.
It didn’t happen, however.
After a timeout, L.A. inbounded from the sideline in front of the scorer’s table. But Jodie Meeks ended up with the ball near mid-court and, without any options, he launched a 40-footer that didn’t come close to hitting the rim.
Asked what happened on the final possession, D’Antoni said, “It wasn’t very good. We broke it early and it wasn’t executed real well. Probably the play wasn’t very good, either. It’s just one of those things where sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. We wanted a better look, though.”
For the Lakers, the loss was their fourth in a row. They played without Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash and Steve Blake.
In their absence, Nick Young scored 21 points before fouling out midway through the fourth quarter. Chris Kaman contributed 19 points and 10 rebounds and Jordan Farmar finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
Kaman played a season-high 30 minutes in only his 17th appearance of the year. It was his fifth start.
“We just didn’t play good enough,” he said. “We did some decent things. But, in the second half, we just couldn’t get any stops.”
Asked about Kaman’s effort, Farmar said, “Chris played well. He has done a great job of staying professional — waiting his turn [and] continuing to work on his game and staying ready. That’s what this business is all about.”