That’s two wins in a row.

As far as the Boston Celtics and Utah Jazz are from making the playoffs, it’s still two wins to add to the Lakers’ short list of victories. They fell behind by as much as 13 points; not taking the lead until there were just four minutes left in the fourth quarter. They held on to the advantage until the end, winning their 15th with a 100-97 victory.


 

What Went Right

 

Clarkson

Jordan Clarkson – The Lakers had just three guards available tonight, and taking on the lead as he’s done the last few weeks, was Clarkson. With Ronnie Price out (more on this later), not to mention Kobe Bryant and Nick Young, three guys to rotate in the back court were all Byron Scott had to work with. Somehow, they managed to make do. Clarkson, especially, has taken on the starting role with a lot of poise and determination; showing he’s more than just a rookie. Tonight he finished with 22 points on 10-16 from the field, including a steal on one end followed by a dunk over fellow first year, Dante Exum. He also chipped in four rebounds, three assists, and a pair of steals.
Wayne Ellington – It says a lot about effort when the leading rebounder on the team is a two-guard, which is fitting for Ellington, who has also slid into a major role on the team since Bryant went out for the season. Ellington added in 15 points to his 10 rebounds.
Balance – Five Lakers scored in double figures tonight, including former Jazz Carlos Boozer with his 14 points and big men Jordan Hill and Ed Davis, who combined for 28 points on 13-20 from the field.
Active Defense – It’s not a talking point that often this season, if ever at all, but 12 steals in one game is no fluke. In a pivotal 4th quarter, they outscored Utah 31-19, on 52% shooting, while keeping the Jazz at 27% from the field. That’s called effort, and if the Lakers exercised more of it, they might have more than 15 wins.
Clean Game – The Lakers had just two turnovers in the entire first half, and only 10 for the entire game. Despite playing from behind for most of the night, they managed to stay competitive by taking care of the ball and then taking advantage of Utah’s mistakes (21 turnovers which turned into 22 points for the visitors).


 

What Went Wrong

 

Price

More Injuries – This afternoon, it was reported that Ronnie Price will surgery to remove a bone spur in his right elbow, which will take him out for 6-8 weeks thereafter, and most likely the rest of the season. That’s in addition to Nick Young’s absence, which can be attributed to a swelling in his left knee. We’re 56 games into the season and the Lakers are still adding to that injury list.

Kobe Bryant and Byron Scott were reportedly unhappy about how the Lakers celebrated their win over the Celtics this past Sunday. The way this season is going for them, and the fact that they’re clearly not going to join in the playoff festivities, what’s so wrong about finding the small moments of joy, like in a rare victory? There were no crazy post-game interviews with Mike Trudell tonight, but if there were, so what? The Lakers just won back-to-back games, something that hasn’t happened all that often this season. They may have come against mediocre teams, but a win is a win.

Box Score

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