Lakers take on Jazz in Utah, look for four straight victories

Lakers have won 6 of their last 7 games.

As of late, we’ve been opening with the Western Conference standings. Here they are coming into Tuesday night:

The Lakers are riding a wave of momentum, having won 6 of their last 7 games. And they are going to face this team twice in their last four games, the Utah Jazz.

L.A. will face the Jazz on Tuesday and then the season closer on Sunday at home. These two teams have gone drastic changes since they last faced each other on early November.

For one thing, the Jazz were trade partners with the Lakers (along with Minnesota) in a three-way deal that sent Russell Westbrook, Juan Toscano-Anderson, and Damian Jones to Utah (Westbrook actually stayed in Los Angeles as he signed with the Clippers after being waived). Los Angeles received D’Angelo Russell from Minnesota and Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley from Utah. It’s so hilarious looking back at those old game previews against the Jazz:

“Vanderbilt’s rebounding and defense have given the Jazz a huge boost in those departments. Malik Beasley gives the bench some three-point shooting.”

I’ve certainly written a lot of words about them since then.

Anyway, the Jazz were riding high in November while the Lakers were the laughingstock of the league at the time. Fast forward to April 4th and the Lakers are fighting for an outright playoff spot while the Jazz are nearly eliminated from getting into the play-in. We all guessed that the Jazz wanted to have a good shot at the #1 pick in the draft lottery. I mean, they still could get the #1 pick but it’s a long shot at this point.

And the Jazz aren’t exactly healthy for the last week of the regular season. Lauri Markkanen (who has been incredible this season as a first option and first-time all-star) and Collin Sexton are questionable. We also learned that Walker Kessler will be out for the remainder of the season due to concussion protocol. Jordan Clarkson and Rudy Gay are also out with their own respective injuries.

This is a huge opportunity for the Lakers. Anthony Davis is listed as probable but we know the big question is whether or not he’ll play on both Tuesday and Wednesday. He’s apparently a go against the Jazz. It’s a little relieving to see D’Angelo Russell as probable but his aches and pains are certainly something to watch out for. And I’ve said a million times this season, LeBron James is questionable for the rest of the way.

The Jazz have won both games against the Lakers this season and neither were particularly close. Of course, this was way earlier in the season and these two teams are completely different now.

Still, the Jazz can put up a lot of points (8th in offensive rating at 115.6 points per 100 possessions and 6th in points per game at 117.1). They still put up a lot of three-pointers (5th most in the league at 38.0 attempts per).

But with so much turnover on the roster, they have the 5th most turnovers in the league. And they still give up quite a lot of points in the paint. So the traits are mostly the same from last November; their personnel is just a lot more different (hello, Kris Dunn and Ochai Agbaji).

I’m not going to say anything different on what the Lakers should do: focus, take care of the ball, and jump on the Jazz early. And they really should put it away early since they have a game to play on Wednesday. Can’t play with their food too much; remember that the Jazz can score a lot of points (Jazz dropped 130 and 139 in their first two match-ups). Also, the Lakers should get to know these Jazz boys a bit better because they’re going to face them again in the closing game of the season on Sunday.

The Lakers should be okay. But they should be careful not to overlook the Utah Jazz.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x