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.
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."
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
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.
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.
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.
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