Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant walks off the court to the locker room before time expires during their NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City

Find the panic button again: Bad first half dooms Lakers in ugly loss to Jazz


I hope you enjoyed the couple days of respite from the Lakers panic, because it is back on.

If the Lakers were looking to carry over their momentum from their win over Detroit, they failed miserably against the Jazz and fell hard 95-86. L.A. looked listless early and dug themselves a hole that they couldn’t climb out of even with a spirited second half that saw their effort improve dramatically.

The Jazz controlled the paint against the Lakers’ vaunted front line and ultimately this was the key to the game. Utah scored 28 points in the paint in the first half alone and rode their trio of Al Jefferson (18 points and 10 boards on the night), Derrick Favors, and Enes Kanter early on to set a tone of bruising, physical play.

On the perimeter, the Lakers had a hard time containing Mo Williams and Randy Foye. The backcourt duo combined for 33 points on only 24 shots with Williams making his mark early in the game and Foye hitting several key shots down the stretch (including three huge three pointers) to bury the Lakers last ditch attempt at a comeback.

For the Lakers, it was another mistake prone night as they turned the ball over 18 times and got lost on their defensive rotations too frequently. Combine that with a 34% shooting night from the floor (including going 4-23 from behind the arc) and they simply weren’t ready to play. Kobe Bryant had a team best 29 but was clearly frustrated after the loss.

If the Lakers were playing better to start the year you could chalk this game up to a bad night and brush it off. But poor play has been the norm for them through five games and even the most patient observers should start to be a bit concerned.

Anthony Bennett moves around, dunks on Lakers’ Upshaw (VIDEO)

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If you believe there is a difference between being dunked on and being dunked around, this definitely falls in the latter category.

Still, it’s an impressive move by Toronto’s Anthony Bennett to make the move and dunk around Lakers’ big man Robert Upshaw during the Raptors’ 105-97 preseason win over the Lakers Thursday night.

Bennett only had four points, but Kyle Lowry had another impressive preseason outing with 25. He has looked sharp. Julius Randle had 17 for the Lakers on 7-of-10 shooting.

Report: Cavs sign Dionte Christmas

Dionte Christmas
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The Cavs are shorthanded in the backcourt right now, with Kyrie Irving still out and Iman Shumpert sidelined for up to three months. Yahoo’s Marc Spears reports that they’re bringing in former Temple guard Dionte Christmas, who played for the Suns in 2013-14:

In 31 games for the Suns two seasons ago, Christmas averaged 2.3 points and 1.2 rebounds in 6.4 minutes per game. He probably won’t get very many minutes if he makes the Cavs’ final roster, but there’s a chance they’ll keep him around on a non-guaranteed deal until Irving and Shumpert are healthy, just to have another body in the backcourt.