(The Sports Xchange) – Gordon Hayward scored 24 points in his first game after being selected as an NBA All-Star, leading the Utah Jazz to a 96-88 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night.
George Hill added 12 points and Rudy Gobert chipped in nine points, 13 rebounds and a season-high six blocked shots for the Jazz. Utah (30-18) snapped a two-game losing streak and swept the four-game season series with Los Angeles for the first time.
Lou Williams scored 20 points while Jordan Clarkson and Ivica Zubac added 16 apiece to lead the Lakers. Los Angeles (16-34) lost for the eighth time in nine games.
The Jazz wasted no time surging in front early. Utah scored 10 unanswered points, culminating in a thunderous dunk from Gobert, to take a 10-2 lead.
Los Angeles cut the deficit to 14-12 on a pair of 3-pointers from Young. Utah answered with a 9-2 run — fueled by back-to-back baskets from Alec Burks — to extend its lead to 23-14 in the final minute of the opening quarter.
Los Angeles uncorked another rally. The Lakers took a 29-27 lead on back-to-back baskets from Larry Nance Jr. and Zubac. However, Utah surged back ahead on a corner 3-pointer from Burks and a put-back layup from Gobert.
The Jazz built back to an eight-point lead, going up 41-33 on a driving layup from Boris Diaw with 3:13 left before halftime.
Utah could not dig a bigger hole for Los Angeles, though, because of poor shooting. The Jazz shot just 7 of 22 (31.8 percent) from the field in the second quarter.
It opened the door for another Lakers rally. Los Angeles surged ahead behind a trio of baskets from Timofey Mozgov. His final one, a dunk, put the Lakers up 56-52. Utah did not trail for long.
The Jazz raced back in front behind an 16-0 run. Hayward fueled the run with a 3-pointer and back-to-back dunks — the second one set up by Joe Ingles’ steal. Ingles capped it all off with a 3-pointer, giving Utah a 68-56 lead with 1:04 remaining in the third quarter.
Los Angeles twice cut it to four in the fourth quarter, the second time on a steal and layup from Clarkson that trimmed Utah’s lead to 85-81 with 2:27 left. Hill buried his only 3-pointer of the night on the other end to stop the Lakers from closing the gap further.
Hayward and Diaw each added a pair of free throws to put Utah up 93-82 with 1:04 remaining.