It was as big of a meaningless win as you can get in the NBA, a come-from-behind, do-it-with-panache beatdown for the Utah Jazz, who shut down the Lakers 99-86 at Staples Center.
I wrote for The Tribune about the swagger the Jazz had on display, notably from Mo Williams. It was evident, however, throughout the team. Jeremy Evans, at one point, had a tomahawk block on Ron Artest that was called for a foul. But for those wondering how far behind the Jazz are from the elite of the Western Conference, a bit of positively-directed attitude should be a good sign.
A few final notes and quotes:
• Jamaal Tinsley returned from an excused absence from the team to score 11 points on 5-of-shooting with five assists. It was an impressive return for a guy who had to rush to rejoin the team in Los Angeles for Saturday morning's shootaround.
• For the second straight game, Derrick Favors started in place of Paul Millsap; yet again, he struggled offensively. Favors finished with 8 points in 23 minutes, one night after scoring just 1 point against the Thunder at home. Favors has, however, tallied 7 blocked shots in two games.
• Before the game, I asked Al Jefferson about the possibilities in the front court, including how much he would like to play alongside Derrick Favors and, even, Enes Kanter, when Paul Millsap returns. I was quickly and rightly dismissed by Jefferson, because Kanter almost always replaces Jefferson on the floor.
The Saturday night, Ty Corbin through out a twist. He played them together for about five minutes.
Jefferson laughed about it after the game, saying, "I thought about that as soon as I saw me and him playing together. I thought about you. I said, 'He called it.'"
Points for the beat writer, I guess.
• The Lakers and Jazz will face off again on Tuesday at the Honda Center in Anaheim. The Jazz will remain in the Los Angeles area through Wednesday, following a game against the Clippers .
— Bill Oram
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