The Utah Jazz maintained their hold on the second spot in the Western Conference standings.
Jazz the Contenders and other takeaways (November 7)
- It’s not just that they’re winning, but it’s also fun to watch the Utah Jazz play. The Jazz may not have a top-tier star but their unselfish play empowers their wide array of scorers. Behind balanced scoring and a premium on ball movement, Utah carved a 110-102 win over the Los Angeles Clippers and improved to 8-3 in the West. Jordan Clarkson fired six treys on his way to a team-high 23 markers, and it seemed that every Jazz player made a huge impact on this win. One example is Kelly Olynyk, who scored just nine but made a couple of smart passes in the clutch.
- Utah’s Collin Sexton was a key cog in the win against the Clippers. He scored 22 points off the bench, and he fueled the team’s offense in the fourth quarter. Sexton’s decisiveness to attack inside, along with his timely cuts and flashes, bailed out the Jazz’s offense multiple times. His aggressiveness earned him a living from the free-throw line (8-of-9 FT) and helped tow the Jazz to the victory.
- In their first game without the injured Pascal Siakam, the Toronto Raptors emerged victorious with a 113-104 win over the Chicago Bulls. Much of the scoring came from lead guard Fred VanVleet (30 points), but look for OG Anunoby to get it going on offense in this Siakam-less stretch. It’s the second straight game that he had a high volume of shots, but the efficiency is still there. After scoring 27 in the previous game, Anunoby, who is also the current league steals leader (3.1), came up with 22 points today.
- Is Desmond Bane headed toward a potential All-Star appearance? The third-year guard was efficient again today, scoring 28 points on 9-of-16 shooting in the Memphis Grizzlies’ 103-97 win over the Washington Wizards. Overall, Bane is averaging 24.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 4.6 assists through nine games, while also shooting a stellar 46.8% from three. His spectacular play has the Grizzlies sitting this in the West, even with the absences of key cogs Jaren Jackson Jr. and Ziaire Williams.
- The Los Angeles Lakers lost a 114-100 decision to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and another third-quarter meltdown is to be blamed. The Purple-and-Gold carried a six-point lead by halftime, but that advantage completely disappeared when the Cavaliers outscored them, 29-16, in the third period. Abysmal showings in the second half of games contribute significantly to the Lakers’ woes, although it’s just one of the many problems that they need to address.