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NBA -- Jazz stomp Lakers with 50th loss of the season


PhilBoxing.com




CHICAGO -- What has been a challenging, injury-riddled campaign just got uglier for the Los Angeles Lakers, who lost for the 50th time this season after the visiting Utah Jazz roughed them up, 80-73, on Thursday night.

The Utah Jazz made only 25 of their 62 field goals at Staples Center, but it was more than enough to hold off the Lakers, who were equally dismal from the field, sinking just 31 of 77 shots, including a 3-for-11 fare from 3-point range. The Lakers also missed an alarming 9 of their 17 free throws.

Utah's Gordon Hayward absorbed a nasty fall while driving through the teeth of L.A.'s defense, but he dusted himself to finish with a game-high 22 points on an efficient 5-for-10 shooting. Hayward also had 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals.

Trey Burke contributed 17 points off the bench for the Jazz while teammates Derrick Favors (14 points and 7 rebounds) and Trevor Bookers (10 points) added significant contributions as well.

Tarik Black led the Lakers with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Wesley Johnson had 12 and Carlos Boozer had 11.

It's the second straight season in which the Lakers have reached the 50-loss mark. They bottomed out at 55-27 last season.

The victory improved the Jazz record to 31-37, breathing some life in their faint playoffs hopes. But the postseason is an uphill climb considering that Utah is 7 games behind the last playoffs berth in the Western Conference with 14 games left in their schedule.

"We're just taking it game by game. We're getting better as a group, and it's definitely encouraging the way we've played. As far as the playoffs are concerned, we're not mathematically out yet and we're going to fight every game," Hayward told the Associated Press. (HDS)



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