The Lakers travel to Utah tonight to take on the Jazz in Salt Lake City. Utah has been one of the hottest teams in the league of late and will be looking to further build momentum with a win tonight. LA will be trying to bounce back after suffering a blowout loss to the Phoenix Suns.
However, the Lakers will be up against it tonight, as they will be without LeBron James due to left ankle tendinopathy. In happier news though, Rui Hachimura is due to return from a calf strain which has kept him out since New Year’s Eve. D’Angleo Russell is questionable with knee soreness, and Cam Reddish is also Questionable. Christian Wood (migraine) and Anthony Davis are both probable.
Guard the Three
In the loss to the Suns the Lakers’ lackluster defense guarding the three-point line was a glaring weakness, as it has been all season. There was very little resistance on the perimeter and the Suns were able to score from beyond the arc with ease. Predictably, Bradley Beal had a season-high 37 points.
Tonight the Lakers will face a red-hot Utah team who have shooters on the floor such as Lauri Markkanen. It’s vital the Lakers step up their defensive effort and stay attached to shooters at all times. This is a confident Jazz team, so letting them get into a rhythm is a recipe for disaster for LA.
Show Energy Early
It’s the second night of a back-to-back for Utah, so Los Angeles should look to come out of the gates quickly in order to capitalize. The mindset needs to be don’t let the crowd get into the game, and don’t let Utah ease into the game. They will be shorthanded, so they will need to gain advantage in any way possible in order to come out with a win.
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