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Utah Jazz: Young’s 41 leads L.A. Lakers to victory over the Jazz

Kurt Kragthorpe

By Aaron Falk

The Salt Lake Tribune

First published Apr 14 2014 06:28PM
Updated Apr 15, 2014 01:41PM

When the game had ended, players stayed out on the court at EnergySolutions Arena and threw out autographed miniature basketballs to the fans who had not made early exits amid another blowout loss.

But in Monday’s defeat, the Utah Jazz had already given some fans the kind of balls they really wanted: the lottery variety.

The loss, a 119-104 affair with the Los Angeles Lakers, assured that the Jazz will finish the season no better than tied for the fourth-worse record in the NBA, and therefore the fourth-best chance at the top pick in the June draft.

But for players, a victory by defeat is a hollow one.

"We don’t go out there to lose," rookie point guard Trey Burke said before the game when the notion of "tanking" was brought up. "With me, every time I step out on the court, I’m thinking about winning."

"We’ve got to play to the end. We’re not quitters," said shooting guard Alec Burks.

For three quarters, victory over L.A., something the Jazz had done twice in the three previous meetings this year, remained a possibility.

The Jazz had built up a 13-point lead in the first half, only to be overtaken by a 21-4 Lakers run to close out the second quarter. After exchanging buckets and leads in the third quarter, the Jazz and Lakers were locked at 86 heading into the final period.

But in the fourth, the Jazz collapsed.

"Not to bail them out … but these guys have been through a lot this year, man," said Jazz coach Ty Corbin. "With all the talk about where we are and what’s going on and what we’re trying to do — it wears on them. And tonight we gave into the talk a little bit."

Utah went cold, failing to convert a bucket for more than six minutes. And the Lakers capitalized with a 16-1 run to start the quarter, laying claim to the 12th and final lead change of the contest.

Guard Nick Young fueled the Lakers (26-55), ensuring they would not finish the season with the worst record in the West — but also securing L.A.’s spot as the No. 6 team in the lottery race. Young scored 17 of his game-high 41 points in the fourth quarter. The streak-shooting guard went 14-of-23 from the floor and 6-of-11 from behind the arc.

"Nick, he gets on these rolls," Jazz coach Ty Corbin said. "And he’s a guy when he gets on a roll, he’s not going to stop shooting it."

Starting a lineup of players all age 24 or younger for the third game in a row, Corbin got double-digit scoring out of each of his starting five.

Burks had 22 points to lead the team. Gordon Hayward scored 21 while grabbing six rebounds and handing out six assists. Burke scored 17 points and dished seven assists.

Forward Derrick Favors had 12 points and five rebounds, while big man Enes Kanter scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for his 24th double-double of the season.

The Jazz shot 51.9 percent from the floor, but the Lakers finished the night shooting 54.9 percent. Utah also helped L.A. to victory with 18 turnovers, leading to 29 points for the visitors.

With the loss, the Jazz now sit at 24-57 on the season, a game ahead of Boston and two games ahead of L.A. in the lottery race. A loss in Wednesday’s season finale at Minnesota (or a Boston victory over Washington) would give the Jazz the fourth worst record in the league, which would mean a 37.8 percent chance at a top-three pick and an 11.9 percent shot at the No. 1 overall selection in the June draft.

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