There was once talk that the ball moved better for the Lakers when Kobe Bryant wasn’t on the floor. That didn’t happen on Friday where the Lakers’ offense produced just 7 assists on 31 made baskets and committed 19 turnovers in route to a 94-85 loss to the Jazz in Utah.
Bryant sat out his 7th game of the season to rest and it will be a frequent occurrence until the year mercifully comes to a close. With Friday’s loss the Lakers are 2-5 in games Bryant does not suit up.
Nick Young has was in the midst of a terrible string of poor games; in the 5 games prior to Friday Young was averaging 9.6 points but shooting just 22 percent from the field and 14 percent from 3. Young was able to turn it around on Friday, leading the team in scoring with 23 points on an efficient 4 for 9 from the field and perfect on 13 free throw attempts.
Jordan Hill had another strong showing, finishing with 16 points and a team high 11 rebounds.
Outside of Hill and Young, who were the only players to score in double figures, the Lakers did not get much help on the offensive side.
Gordan Hayward has taken the next step in his development of a player this season, possibly moving up the rankings as the 2nd best small forward in the Western Conference and he surely looked like that on Friday, scoring a game high 31 points on 12 for 18 from the field and dishing out 7 assists.
It is the 5th time Hayward has reached the 30 point mark and currently leads the Jazz in scoring on the season at 19.2 points per game.
The Lakers are now 12-29 at the halfway mark on the season which ranks them 14th in the West and 4 spots from the bottom of the NBA. The Lakers were slightly better last season at this same point having gone 16-25 with Mike D’Antoni at the helm.
The Lakers take on the Suns next in Phoenix on Monday.