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Donovan Mitchell Dominates Lakers

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The Lakers fell into the Spida-verse.

Donovan Mitchell had 33 points and the Utah Jazz thrashed the Los Angeles Lakers, 113-95, on Friday night at Vivint Smart Home Arena.

Mitchell struggled early in his sophomore season, but when he’s “on,” few players in the NBA can dominate a game the way he can. Thankfully for the Jazz, Mitchell—known as “Spida” because of his superhuman spider senses on the basketball court—has turned it “on” during the month of January, and with great power comes great responsibility.

In the absence of not one, but two point guards, Mitchell continued his hot-shooting streak as the sophomore guard scored a game-high 33 points and dished out nine assists.

“My biggest thing is not to change the mindset, just because we’re down two point guards,” said Mitchell of the Jazz who were without Ricky Rubio and Dante Exum on Friday night. “Just being aggressive and making the right reads. That’s what I’ve been doing and that’s what I’m going to continue to do.”

Rudy Gobert had 12 points and 18 rebounds. Joe Ingles had 14 points and 12 rebounds, and Derrick Favors chipped in 15 points and 13 rebounds, as all three players had double-doubles.

Royce O’Neale, inserted into the starting lineup had 17 points as all five Utah starters scored in double figures for the Jazz.

Los Angeles trailed from wire-to-wire, and went down by double-digits early in the first quarter. After cutting the lead to six points in the second quarter, the Jazz pulled away, leading by 21 points at the half. 

The play of the game came midway through the second quarter when Mitchell posterized Lakers’ center JaVale McGee with a rim-rattling dunk that electrified the crowd. 

Los Angeles cut the lead to 10 points late in the third quarter, but ran out of gas in the final frame as Utah led by as many as 25 points by the end of the game. 

Michael Beasley continued to spark the Lakers off the bench since returning to the team a week ago.

Beasley was away from the team for nearly a month as his mother battled cancer, but she unfortunately lost the fight just before Christmas.  Beasley returned to the team last Friday and despite the difficulty of dealing with insurmountable grief, has provided much-needed energy and scoring off the bench for Los Angeles.

After a season-high 19 points on Wednesday in a win over the Pistons, Beasley scored a team-high 17 points in the loss to Utah.

Brandon Ingram had 15 points and Kyle Kuzma scored just 11 points following his 41-point career high on Wednesday.

The Lakers were outrebounded, 65-to-55, and two days after dishing out 30 assists, they only had 14 in the loss on Friday.

The Lakers were playing in their ninth consecutive game without superstar LeBron James. The ninth game marked the longest absence of James’ career, and the team has struggled to keep their head above water without him, falling to 3-6 since he strained his left groin on Christmas Day against the Golden State Warriors.

The Jazz tied the season series with the Lakers at one game apiece after Los Angeles defeated Utah 90-83 on November 23rd

Notes and Next

The Lakers were without LeBron James (left groin) and Rajon Rondo (finger). James missed his ninth consecutive game, the longest absence of his career.  Ricky Rubio, Dante Exum, and Thabo Sefolosha did not play in the game for Utah.

The Lakers will host James former team the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday at 6:30PM PT.

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