Is Byron Scott Panicking Already?

With his Los Angeles Lakers putting on one display of ineptitude after another through the preseason, new coach Byron Scott decided to try to win a game last night, and while his team did respond well and won, don’t think that by outscoring the Utah Jazz by 10 points in the fourth quarter that things are better and that the club’s fortunes are improving as the regular season approaches. The big fourth quarter and the win were products of different coaching approaches to the game, which was practically handed to the Lakers by Jazz coach Quin Snyder.

Despite very minimal minutes from starters Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward, and

zero floor time from a third starter, Trey Burke, the Jazz got off to a great start, and led at halftime, 54-38. With Snyder playing guys like Rudy Gobert and Carrick Felix, and rookies such as Dante Exum and Rodney Hood on the court, the Lakers narrowed the deficit in the third quarter, and midway in the fourth, the game was actually tied, and then seesawing back and forth with one or two point leads. Against a Jazz team playing primarily Gobert, Exum, and Hood, plus
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Steve Novak and Ian Clark, and for a few minutes, Enos Kanter and Alec Burks, Scott put Kobe Bryant back into the game, along with Wesley Johnson, and thanks in large part to Wayne Ellington hitting a three pointer and two free throws, after going one-of-eight from the floor until that point, and with five points from Kobe, the Lakers pulled out a victory.

Also keep in mind that the Utah Jazz was the only NBA Western Conference team last season to have a worse won-lost record than the Lakers, and it is an open question as to

whether or not they could be any better this coming season. Looking at the players they had on the court last night, they should still be the Pacific Division cellar-dweller next May.

All in all, the Lakers did play some improved defense, but again, look at the opposition. Also, after failing to hit a single three-point shot over the previous two games, the Lakers actually made
four of those quasi-extinct shots against the Jazz, but they were four-for-13, still a dismal 30.8%.

Ronnie Price continued playing extensive minutes due to the fact that the Lakers have no other healthy point guard, and it is sad to say that his 20% shooting will not prevent him from not only making the roster, but playing lots of minutes, at least until such time as they have a healthy Jeremy Lin, a healthy and useable Jordan Clarkson, and can get some minutes out of Steve Nash. Well, at least two out of three are possibilities.

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