Lou Williams' 38 points not enough against Jazz as Lakers fall 107-101: Before facing an opponent that pushed the Lakers around the last time they met, and with the team now essentially down four key players, Metta World Peace addressed his teammates with a message. He told them it didn’t matter that so many Lakers were injured, that they could still win games despite their low numbers. They came close Monday night, but lost to the Utah Jazz, 107-101. -- Los Angeles Times

Lakers summon rookie center Ivica Zubac from Development League: Depleted by injuries, the Lakers called up rookie Ivica Zubac, a second-round draft pick, from his Development League assignment Monday. Zubac averaged 17.3 points and 8.5 rebounds in six games with the D-Fenders, getting playing time and experience he wouldn’t have had with the Lakers. -- Los Angeles Times

Lou Williams' big night not enough in Lakers' 107-101 loss to Jazz: The day started with the Lakers learning their backcourt depth suffered another serious dent and ended with them losing a key piece to their frontcourt. In between, the Lakers suffered a 107-101 loss to the Utah Jazz on Monday at Staples Center and their third consecutive defeat as they struggled to apply patchwork to a ripped-up quilt. -- The Orange County Register

Lakers aren't using injuries as an excuse, but they're taking a toll: They all say they don’t use injuries as a crutch. Luke Walton walked into his postgame locker room Monday night and saw yet another Laker using a crutch for an injury. “I’m pretty sure he won’t be playing tomorrow night,” Walton said of backup center Tarik Black, who sprained his ankle in the third quarter. -- The Orange County Register

Luke Walton's unconventional Lakers lineup didn't work against Jazz, but it was progressive thinking: When Luke Walton arrived at the arena on Monday night, he had narrowed to two his options for patching together a lineup ravaged by injuries. One choice had him moving Jordan Clarkson into the starting backcourt, but that would have meant breaking up the Lakers NBA-best bench. The second option was less obvious but offered some hope defensively against the Utah Jazz. It called for starting a 37-year-old Metta World Peace along with Luol Deng and Brandon Ingram, along with Julius Randle and Timofey Mozgov. -- The Orange County Register

Lakers' Metta World Peace tells teammates 'not to be entitled': The Lakers’ frustration mounted through losses, missed calls and debilitating injuries. Fatigue settled in as the Lakers completed a four-game trip in five days that included two sets of back-to-backs. Mindful those variables factored into their recent struggles, veteran forward Metta World Peace addressed the team at shootaround before Monday’s game against Utah at Staples Center. -- The Orange County Register

Thomas Robinson still living his 'dream' while searching for bigger role: Someone was asking Thomas Robinson about the way he helps the young Lakers. Thomas Robinson is 25 years old. “Most people think I’m at least three years older,” he said. “Most people think I’m 28 or 30.” In NBA mileage, he might be. He was the No. 5 pick in the 2012 NBA draft after three years at Kansas. The Lakers are his sixth place of NBA residence in that time. -- The Orange County Register

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LOS ANGELES -- Gordon Hayward scored 23 points and the Utah Jazz overcame the absence of ill coach Quin Snyder for their sixth victory in seven games, 107-101 over the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night.

Lou Williams had 38 points, six rebounds and seven assists for the Lakers, who rallied in the fourth quarter and nearly stole a victory despite finishing their eighth loss in 11 games without five injured regulars.

Rodney Hood scored 16 points and hit two difficult shots in the waning minutes to keep the Jazz on track to win their only road game in a nine-game stretch.

Veteran assistant Igor Kokoskov ran the Jazz for Snyder, who fell ill earlier in the day and decided he couldn't coach shortly before game time.


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Jordan Clarkson gets into the lane and has his shot blocked by Rudy Gobert. The ball ends up back with the Lakers as they reset the offense, with Lou Williams driving in, only to have his shot attempt blocked by Gobert as well.
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Lakers center Tarik Black jumps into the passing lane to get the ball into open space and finishes with an emphatic dunk.
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Rodney Hood dribbles into a wide-open lane and dunks it against the Lakers in the first quarter.

Magic Johnson watches NBA games every day, amazed by the way Russell Westbrook is compiling triple-doubles even faster than he could.

Now Johnson is ready to start talking about it on the air again.

The Hall of Famer is returning to ESPN as analyst to work on the network's NBA Countdown studio show, ESPN announced Monday.

Johnson will debut on the pregame studio show for ABC's Christmas coverage and then join Michael Wilbon, who is also making his return to the show, and Sage Steele on the Saturday night team, beginning Jan. 21.

"I'm so excited to be working with my ESPN family again on NBA Countdown Saturday nights," Johnson said in a statement released by ESPN. "Michael, Sage and I are going to have a lot of fun this season while we cover the greatest sport in the world. Basketball has been so good to me, and I can't wait to once again share my love and passion for the game with the fans and my ESPN colleagues."

Johnson worked for ESPN as a studio analyst from 2008-13 and said getting to work again with Wilbon was one of the reasons for his return, along with the chance to work the limited nine-game Saturday schedule. He was previously doing 60 or more nights, which was too much with his other businesses, he said.

"If it had been a full schedule like I did before, 60-something games, it never would have worked out," Johnson said. "I wouldn't have come back."


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Lakers' recent trip leaves team fatigued: The mere mention of the Lakers’ upcoming itinerary made Lou Williams shake his head. The Lakers just concluded a four-game trip in five days that included stops in New Orleans, Chicago, Toronto and Memphis. The Lakers (10-12) will then resume their schedule on Monday against the Utah Jazz (12-9) at Staples Center. The Lakers then play in Houston on Wednesday before returning to Los Angeles for home games against Phoenix (Friday) and New York (Sunday). -- The Orange County Register

Calderon out as Lakers' guard woes continue: The Lakers will lack yet another guard on Monday against the Utah Jazz. Jose Calderon was declared out for the game after straining his right hamstring on Saturday against the Memphis Grizzlies. Calderon is the third Lakers guard to suffer an injury that will result in missed games. -- Los Angeles Times

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Marc Gasol boxes out Timofey Mosgov and throws a hook shot over Mosgov and gives the Grizzlies a 103-97 lead over the Lakers.
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Troy Daniels scored a career-high 31 points, and the Memphis Grizzlies hung on for a 103-100 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night after Julius Randle missed all three free throws with 5.9 seconds left.

Daniels shot 12 of 23 from the field, including 6 of 12 from outside the arc. Marc Gasol had 19 points while JaMychal Green finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds as Memphis won its second straight.

Lou Williams scored a season-best 40 points for the Lakers. Luol Deng added 18 and Timofy Mozgov finished with 13.

Memphis pulled away in a tight game with a 9-2 burst that erased a 95-94 Lakers lead in the final 5 minutes.

Williams converted a three-point play with 51 seconds remaining to pull the Lakers within one possession, and they had a chance to tie when Gasol fouled Randle on a 3-point attempt.


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JaMychal Green jumps over Julius Randle to grab the offensive rebound and the putback in the third quarter.
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Louis Williams goes coast-to-coast and drives past Grizzlies defenders to the basket for a two-handed jam in the second quarter.
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The youthful Lakers raced up the court, chasing a fast-break bucket against the Golden State Warriors. But Larry Nance Jr. remained near the rear of the pack, pacing himself, surveying everything before him, calculating space and angles, searching, most of all, for an open runway.

Throughout a game, the 23-year-old Lakers forward hopes for these moments, almost hunting them but not quite. He's learned that if he hunts too much, rarely do they unfold just the way he wants: culminating in a powerful, sky-scraping, momentum-shifting slam that blazes across social media and sends fans screaming out of their seats.

Above all, Nance, one of the NBA's highest and most exciting flyers, has learned patience. Most of the time, he doesn't have to seek these moments as they will often find him. He just needs to be in the right place at the right time and ready. When a shot goes up, for instance, Nance tracks its arc, then tries to position himself carefully among the rim's tall timbers so that he can snatch the ball if it ricochets. "Seven, eight times out of 10, I'm very certain of where it's coming off," he said.

Sometimes an opponent will try to box him out, then turn to look at Nance and notice that Nance doesn't seem to be going anywhere. If the opponent falls for this ruse, they will turn away and go chase the rebound. "And that's when you crash right on top of them," Nance says. Thus, the simple but effective formula for his signature putback dunks: lure prey into a false sense of security, then strike.


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The Los Angeles Lakers playing on Christmas has almost become as synonymous as Kobe Bryant playing for the Lakers. But now that the Black Mamba has retired, he won't be taking the court Dec. 25 as the Lakers participate in their 16th consecutive Christmas game.

That hasn't stopped Bryant, who played in an NBA-record 16 Christmas contests, from reveling in the holiday spirit.

On Friday, the future Hall of Famer unveiled an "ugly holiday sweater" that he is promoting to benefit the Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation, which provides financial resources and programming to strengthen communities through educational and cultural enrichment opportunities.

Available in purple or black, the sweater features a rendering of Bryant in a Santa Claus costume holding a bag with a basketball under the heading "Merry Swish-mas." Candy canes, Christmas trees and additional basketballs dot the background of the design.

There is also an option to toggle between 8 and 24 in regard to Bryant's number on the $40 sweater, which is only available for purchase until Wednesday, Dec. 7.

Bryant scored a total of 395 points on Christmas, an NBA record.

-- Nick Ostiller


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SPONSORED HEADLINES

TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Louis Williams
PTS AST STL MIN
18.4 3.5 1.3 24.7
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Randle 8.8
AssistsD. Russell 4.8
StealsJ. Clarkson 1.7
BlocksT. Black 0.6