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Young scores 41 as Lakers race past Jazz

Alan Draper profile picture
Sports Editor
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SALT LAKE CITY — Los Angeles Lakers guard Nick Young apparently wasn’t kidding when he said he has no interest in tanking.

The backup small forward scored a season-high 41 points and sparked a massive turnaround as the Lakers pounded the Utah Jazz 119-104 Monday at EnergySolutions Arena.

Young, whose career-high is 43 points, scored 17 in the fourth quarter as Los Angeles stormed to a commanding 20-point lead after trailing by 13 in the first half. The Lakers outscored Utah 33-18 in the final period after the teams were tied following the third quarter.

“We rallied together,” Young said after hitting 14 of 23 shots, including six of 11 from 3-point range. “We (are) still motivated. Last two games, we are still going out here trying to find ways to get our spirits up.”

Guard Jodie Meeks added 23 points, center Jordan Hill contributed 21 points and six rebounds, and point guard Kendall Marshall dished out 15 assists as the Lakers snapped a seven-game losing streak.

The win improved the Lakers’ record to 26-55 but hurt the team’s position in next month’s draft lottery. The highest Los Angeles can finish in the lottery order is fifth.

Nobody in the Lakers’ locker room, especially not Young, is worrying about that right now.

“It was great. We are not in last place,” Young said. “We came together as a team. My teammates were finding me. I just got hot. It was a blessing.”

Utah fell to 24-57 after its sixth consecutive defeat, and it sits in the No. 4 spot for potential draft positioning. The latest loss guarantees that the Jazz will end the 2013-14 with the worst record in the West.

“These guys have been through a lot this year with all the talk about where we are and what’s going on and what we’re trying to do, and it wears on them,” a flustered Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said. “I thought tonight we gave into the talk a little bit.”

Guard Alec Burks scored 22 points, small forward Gordon Hayward chipped in 21 points and six rebounds, and center Enes Kanter tallied 19 points and 12 rebounds in the defeat.

“It’s tough, man. It’s tough, especially against the Lakers,” Kanter said. “It doesn’t matter if we don’t have a playoff (spot) in the West, it’s always nice to beat the Lakers. And it’s our last home game, so I wish we would have won.”

Guard Jordan Farmar opened the fourth quarter with a jumper to put the Lakers ahead 88-86. Young then scored nine consecutive points during a quarter-opening 11-0 run.

Forward Jeremy Evans gave Utah its first points of the final quarter at the 7:48 mark, but that was as close as the Jazz got.

The Jazz were ahead early by 13 in the battle between the two teams with the worst records in the Western Conference. The Lakers used a 19-2 surge before halftime to go into the locker room ahead 57-51.

The Lakers were missing six players due to injury and illness, including Kobe Bryant (knee), Pau Gasol (vertigo), Steve Nash (nerve root irritation), Xavier Henry (wrist), Chris Kaman (calf) and Kent Bazemore (foot).

Gasol, Bryant and Bazemore are ruled out for the remainder of the season. Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni said Kaman also is unlikely to play in Wednesday’s season finale.

Young will play — and try to win again — when the Lakers face the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.

“Nick is fun. He’s a good guy in a sense that he’s always laughing and smiling,” D’Antoni said. “He’s still got some improving to do on the defensive end, just his focus. But he can get his shot off against anybody, and when he gets on rolls, he’s uncanny about how he can score the basketball.”

NOTES: Lakers G Kent Bazemore will have surgery Wednesday at Stanford University Medical Center to repair the torn tendon in his right foot, the team announced Monday. Bazemore has missed the past five games after getting injured in a game against the Clippers. A league source told ESPN he is expected to fully recover by June. … Jazz F Marvin Williams missed his third consecutive game with a left knee bone bruise. It is uncertain whether he will play in Wednesday’s season finale against the Timberwolves in Minnesota. … Several dozen Jazz fans signed a thank-you card for Utah coach Tyrone Corbin, who is in the final season of his contract. Critics have been vocal about trying to get management to fire Corbin during this rebuilding season, so he appreciated the positive gesture. “It’s great for that group to spend their time and efforts to give me a card showing how much they appreciate the year and the growth of the young guys and how excited they are about how they’re getting better. I really appreciate their support.”

Alan is an experienced writer of online betting and casino guides. He is one of the main editors of Basketballinsiders.

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