Kobe Bryant get a pass off to a team mate in front of Utah's Derrick Favors,… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)
The Lakers have had a lot of trouble this season with the Utah Jazz, losing the first two meetings (and two in the preseason).
On Friday night, the Lakers were able to finish the season series with a 102-84 win, ending a four-game slide.
While the win was convincing, the Jazz simply don't have a potent backcourt with Jamaal Tinsley starting for Mo Williams (sidelined with a thumb injury) and Randy Foye at shooting guard. While Foye can get hot from the outside, Utah didn't have a Jose Calderon, Mike Conley or a capable penetrating point guard to take advantage of the Lakers' defensive woes.
Of bigger concern was that even in victory, the Lakers turned the ball over 18 times and shot 53.8% from the line (7-13).
The Lakers have a myriad of issues this season but they're among the worst in the league in both categories with 13.4 turnovers a game (26th) and an awful 69.4% free throw percentage (29th).
The Jazz just weren't equipped to take advantage. With the Oklahoma City Thunder on deck for Sunday, it's hard to imagine the Lakers getting a win with that many turnovers and missed free throws.
Even when the Lakers play well, they put themselves at a competitive disadvantage. So what can they do to improve?
"Work on it. That's all you can do is just work on it," said Kobe Bryant. "Just [on the] fundamentals, passing out of motion, things like that - telegraphing passing against teams that have very active hands, quick hands. You can't do that. You have to be extremely fundamentally sound and make clean passes."
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Email Eric Pincus at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.