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The Utah Jazz come to sunny California on a bit of a winning streak having won 7 of 12 games and the last two. The once mighty Lakers are currently riding a 6 game losing streak, including losses to the Jazz in Utah, and the 76ers and Bucks at home in LA. So...yeah.
What to Watch for:
-The Jazz are ranked 26th in the league in offensive efficiency and dead last in defense according to ESPN's team stats database. Over the last 10 games, those numbers have not improved overall, but the Jazz have put together some nice offensive and defensive performances against lesser opponents, while wilting to teams like the Spurs, Grizzlies, and Clippers. In short the Jazz have beaten the bad teams (even on the road) and lost to the good ones (even at home).
The Lakers are not good, especially right now, so theoretically the Jazz should be able to win this game.
-Mike Dantoni rearranged his starting lineup putting Robert Sacre in at starting center with Pau Gasol at Power Forward. This change could potentially cause matchup problems for the Jazz, since Marvin Williams will most likely have to guard Pau Gasol. Williams has struggled at times with defensive rebounding this season, so Ty Corbin will have to consider whether the Lakers' rebounding and paint advantage will overshadow Marvin's ability to hit three pointers.
-The Lakers are also starting Kendall Marshall at Point Guard for the first time this season. Trey Burke should be able to take advantage of the slow-footed Marshall, but may find the paint clogged defensively due to Gasol and Sacre. The Jazz are probably going to have to hit some outside shots over the Lakers defense to win this game.
-Enes Kanter has put together 4 decent games in a row, averaging 10 points and 7 rebounds in 20 minutes per game. He has also been a +17 in those 80 minutes of play. With the Lakers' size, he may be called on to contribute and hopefully he can string another good game to the streak.
-The Jazz haven't won in LA in more than a year. The last time they faced the Lakers, the Jazz were embarrassed 102-84.
While a three game win streak would be nice, the Jazz will look a little too forward to the long weekend and show up to LA a little lackluster. The Lakers will pound the boards all night and cause the Jazz foul trouble and defensive rebounding problems. It will look a little too much like when the Jazz were out manned in the paint 5 years ago against the Lakers. Trey Burke will lead the Jazz with 21 points, but will have to take 19 shots in order to do so.