LeBron James scored 36 points with eight 3-pointers to lift the Los Angeles Lakers to a 128-117 victory over the visiting Utah Jazz on Sunday afternoon.
Though they won the final game of the regular season, the Lakers (43-39) failed to earn themselves a guaranteed playoff spot. The No. 7 seed Lakers will host the No. 8 Minnesota Timberwolves on Tuesday in the play-in round.
Anthony Davis contributed 16 points, 13 rebounds, four blocks and three steals in the win, while D’Angelo Russell scored 17 as the Lakers won for the ninth time in 11 games.
Kris Dunn scored 26 points with 10 rebounds and eight assists to lead the Jazz (37-45), who again played without their starting lineup and a couple of other key players.
Kelly Olynyk, who played well for the rebuilding Jazz squad this season, scored 23 points with five boards and four assists. Simone Fontecchio added 20 points and nine rebounds.
After starting the season off with a surprisingly good 12-6 record, the Jazz closed out the season by losing nine of their final 11 as they missed out on postseason action for the first time since 2016.
The Lakers jumped out to a 20-7 start after James drained three early 3-pointers. L.A. cruised to a 65-56 halftime lead.
Utah chipped away at the deficit, pulling within four, 83-79, midway through the third quarter after an Azubuike dunk.
The Jazz kept the pressure on after the Lakers threatened to pull away in the third, eventually making it a one-point game following a Simone Fontecchio 3-pointer.
The fourth quarter was competitive, with the Jazz staying within reach and only trailing by three after a Dunn dunk with 2:49 remaining.
The Lakers’ defense held the Jazz scoreless the rest of the way, and James sent L.A. into the play-in on a roll by hitting a pair of late 3s.
James also dished out six assists and grabbed six rebounds while hitting 13 of 25 field goals in the win.
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