Utah Jazz vs Los Angeles Lakers
Where: Staples Center
When: Friday, Jan. 25, 10:30 p.m.
TV: TWC Sportsnet
The Lakers’ season is getting worse by the game. They have currently lost four in a row, and they were winless during their brief road trip. The Lakers haven’t shown much heart as a team, and it shows in the effort that they have given. The Kobe Bryant led team is eight games under .500 and third in the Pacific.
Many futile attempts have been utilized to turn the Lakers season around. First, they fired Mike Brown five games into the season. Then they hired Mike D’Antoni, and while he was on the mend from knee surgery, the Lakers had one of their best stretches of the season.
Los Angeles has only been over .500 once this season, but the good fortune quickly faded. They are currently 14 games out of first place, and are in dire need of a win.
Utah comes to town with a (23-19) record, and they are on a four game winning streak. Currently, the Jazz are secure in the seventh spot for the Western conference playoffs. This is a much needed win for Utah on Friday. They have a chance to knock the Lakers down one more notch.
Dwight Howard has been cleared by the doctors after reinjuring his shoulder, but a bad shoulder is the least of his worries. Since day one, he has not connected with his Lakers teammates and it has been a struggle on the court. Still, Howard averages 16.7 points and 12 rebounds per game.
The main problem with Howard is his lack of offensive ability. He will have a tough time against the physical toughness of the Utah Jazz.
Kobe Bryant has been leading the league in scoring for most of the year, but a shooting slump has surfaced at the wrong time. Bryant has been taking too many jumpers without making the defense work. He will have Gordon Hayward defending him at the most crucial times during the game.
While Howard and the Lakers seem overly concerned with the offensive end, they are a real liability on defense. They give up over 101 points per game. There are times when they can’t stop anybody.
Los Angeles must control the momentum changing runs that Utah can get on. If they aren’t able to slow down Al Jefferson, Utah may run away with the game.
Every week, somebody affiliated with the Lakers is saying that the season starts now. Well, the season really does start now, and it begins with Utah. The season is more than half gone, and they must surpass four teams to sneak into the playoffs. The Lakers need wins against their main competitors especially. Los Angeles will play one of their best games and come away with a victory. It could be a turning point, or it could just be a blip on the radar.
Los Angeles Lakers 102
Utah Jazz 100
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