Three takeaways from the Lakers’ 116-108 victory Monday over the Utah Jazz:
1. Congrats to the Lakers. I think?
They clinched the top record in the Western Conference by beating Utah, but what does it mean?
The Lakers’ franchise never celebrates such a thing. Never has, never will.
In fact, the Lakers don’t really care about conference championships either. Yawn.
It’s all or nothing for the Lakers, championship or bust. All year. Every year.
Give them credit for that and also for resurrecting their offense against Utah. After two un-Laker-like games to begin the restart process, the Lakers broke free on the scoreboard. More on that in a moment.
Earning the West’s top seed would mean more in a typical season if the Lakers had a real home-court advantage. Times have changed though. No fans in the stands in Orlando, understandably.
At the very least, the Lakers can coast in their final five reseeding games while waiting to see who emerges from the mosh pit for the West’s eighth and final playoff spot.
2. Anthony Davis had 23 points, seven rebounds and two steals. Then the third quarter began.
He was hungry from the start Monday, aggressively seeking his shot after a mundane Saturday against Toronto where he made exactly two baskets.
Against Utah, he finished with 42 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and three steals. Oh, and he made four three-pointers.
Davis was easily the main reason the Lakers emerged from a quiet two-game stretch of offense.
They came into Monday with the fewest points in the restart phase (97.5 per game). They left with 116 points, right around their 114-a-game average when the league suspended play in March.
They can thank Davis.
3. Two Lakers starters had their best game since March.
There’s still room for improvement, but Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Danny Green were steadier with their shot Monday, each making four of seven attempts.
Ten points from Caldwell-Pope and eight from Green isn’t a cause for celebration. It’s an uptick from their first two games though.
Caldwell-Pope had struggled while starting in Avery Bradley’s spot, making only four of 15 shots and scoring 11 points in 59 minutes.
Green was scoreless against Toronto and two for13 in the restart’s first two games.
The Lakers need production from Green and Caldwell-Pope. What they got Monday was something a little more like it.
Mike Bresnahan is the Lakers analyst for Spectrum SportsNet.