George Hill said he wanted to help Utah win more close games. In his second contest since a June trade from the Pacers, the veteran point guard helped the Jazz do just that.
Hill scored 23 points, Rudy Gobert had 13 points and 13 rebounds and the Jazz beat the Los Angeles Lakers 96-89 in Utah's home opener Friday night. Hill took over late and scored 10 points in the fourth quarter.
"A lot of guys can talk about it, I'm more big on leading by example," Hill said. "Holding guys accountable. Doing what I can do first and let guys read that.
"That's the thing, the better off we're going to be is every one of these guys being able to hold each other accountable and give each other constructive criticism and don't take it the wrong way. Just knowing that we have one common goal and we all want to win."
The Jazz used a 16-1 run spanning halftime to take an 11-point lead, but the Lakers closed the third quarter on a 22-11 run - highlighted by Tarik Black's put-backs and Lou Williams' 3 - to take a 65-64 lead.
The Jazz trailed by four midway in the fourth quarter when Hill's 3-pointer sparked an 11-0 run for an 83-76 lead. Utah led the rest of the way.
"I think he's just a good player," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said of Hill. "He takes pride, is the main thing. He's got a lot of pride in his defense. On the offensive end ... he didn't stop attacking. That's going to be huge for us, especially with Gordon (Hayward) and Alec (Burks) out. We've talked about George being aggressive offensively."
Jazz forward Derrick Favors returned from a knee injury that kept him out for most of the preseason and the season opener. He finished with 15 points, nine rebounds and two blocks. Teammate Rodney Hood added 15.
Williams led the Lakers with 17 points.
"We came out of halftime flat and that second unit came out and did a phenomenal job," Lakers coach Luke Walton said. "We had a fourth quarter lead. Utah is a tough team at home. They are well coached. We missed some good looks, they shot 40 free throws, which is a little ridiculous to me, but that is kind of what happens when you play in Utah."
Lakers: No. 2 overall pick Brandon Ingram left the game with a sore right knee in the first half and did not return. He said it got sore while running and thinks it may be tendinitis. "I think it was better to be cautious about it and just come back and try to run on it again. But it just felt like I needed to be done." ... D'Angelo Russell shot just 3 for 14 and had nine points.
Jazz: Hayward went through a workout, including shooting the ball, before the game. He is out indefinitely and missed most of the preseason with a broken finger on his non-shooting hand. ... Gobert had his second double-double in two games and also had four blocks
HELLO, OLD FRIEND
Snyder was an assistant with the Lakers from 2011-12 when Walton was on the roster. Snyder said he worked a lot with the second unit, which included Walton.
"His feel for the game and just the kind of quiet intelligence," Snyder said when asked what he remembered. "Sometimes you had to ask him what he thought. ... You can always learn a lot from NBA players when you're coaching if you just pay attention and keep your ears open. There's things that they acquire over a period of a career. Luke, clearly, that stuff translates to him coaching right now."
Lakers guard Nick Young has already matched his number of starts from the 2015-16 season. He's started both games season and had just two last year.
"He earned it, honestly," Walton said. "In training camp it wasn't like we had him penciled in. But he continued to work hard defensively, is what first caught our eye.
"When that first unit was struggling to kind of score in those preseason games, we were just thinking of different ways to get more firepower and kind of keep that second unit together that was playing really well. We tried Nick and he did a phenomenal job and kept working hard in practice. It felt right."
Lakers: Travel to face Oklahoma City on Sunday after Russell Westbrook scored 51 points on 44 shots Friday against the Suns.
Jazz: Travel to face the Clippers on Sunday.