LOS ANGELES (AP) — Mike D'Antoni's "Marshall plan" worked to perfection on a night when the Lakers' coach didn't have any other choice.
Pau Gasol had 23 points and 17 rebounds, and injury-riddled Los Angeles used its sixth different starting point guard of the season in a 110-99 victory over the Utah Jazz on Friday night.
Kendall Marshall was given the assignment by D'Antoni, who has used 18 different starting lineups this season. He was the 14th player to start a game for the Lakers overall, finishing with 20 points and 15 assists in 40 minutes — all career highs.
"I've got to give all the thanks to my teammates. They did a great job of helping me out, as well as the coaches," Marshall said. "When we're knocking down shots and playing defense, that makes it really easy on me."
Marshall's other three starts in the NBA came last season with Phoenix, and the Suns lost all three games despite his 37 assists. He spent 2½ weeks with the Delaware 87ers of the D-League before the Lakers signed him on Dec. 20.
"Everything happens for a reason, so I'm thankful for the position I'm in right now and I want to make the most of it with this team," he said.
Marshall began his freshman season at North Carolina as a backup point guard to Larry Drew II, before coach Roy Williams made him a starter. In one game, he had 16 assists to help beat Florida State. As a sophomore, he set an ACC single-season record with 351 assists.
"One thing I do take pride in is being a leader," Marshall said. "It definitely felt like I was back at Carolina, just the way that we were playing tonight. There were a lot of similarities. We were getting up and down the floor, and I'm excited about it. But the thing I'm most excited about is starting the year with a win."
The victory snapped a six-game losing streak for the Lakers, who concluded a four-game stretch against teams that are last in their respective divisions.
Gordon Hayward scored 22 points for the Jazz. They never led in their rematch with the Lakers — which came a week after Derrick Favors' putback dunk with 2.1 seconds remaining beat them 105-103 at Salt Lake City and snapped Utah's four-game home losing streak.
Gasol missed that game in Utah because of a respiratory infection, joining Kobe Bryant, Steve Blake and Steve Nash on a lengthy infirmary list that also has included Jordan Farmar, Xavier Henry, Wesley Johnson and Chris Kaman. Johnson was back in the lineup and was the first player off D'Antoni's depleted bench, getting 11 points in 22 minutes after missing Tuesday's game because of gastroenteritis.