The Utah Jazz and their newly minted all stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell face the depleted Los Angeles Lakers Wednesday night in Salt Lake City. For the Jazz it has to be a bit of letdown as they were looking forward to measuring themselves against the defending champs with a healthy roster. That won’t be the case with Lakers starters Anthony Davis and Dennis Schroeder out for this match. Still, the Jazz will face a tough test going up against Lebron James and company and it will feel great to be able to beat the Lakers and avenge last years loss at home when LeBron so audaciously stepped out onto the court to celebrate DURING the game.
The Lakers come into this game struggling mightily since they lost their big man Anthony Davis to injury last week. Losing their last three games including, an inexplicable loss to the Washington Wizards on Monday in which they blew a 17 point lead. While Anthony Davis has been out LeBron James has had to increase his minutes per game by almost 10 and he looked tire and/or mortal at the end of the game vs. Washington.
The Jazz bounced back from their heartbreaking loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday by beating the Charlotte Hornets on Monday. It looked for a while like the Jazz were playing in mud against the Hornets and they found themselves down by 11 points late in the third quarter. But, as good teams do, they flipped the switch and found their offensive rhythm by the end of the third period. The Jazz can’t afford to do that against a team like the Lakers who are expert at putting teams away once they have control of the game.
Both of these teams have their eyes on a bigger prize this season so one game is not going to make or break either squad. But for the Jazz it is an opportunity to at least partially measure where they stand. If the Jazz get run off the floor then it is discouraging because it could mean that the Lakers are just a bad matchup in general. On the other hand if they win, it doesn’t mean that much other than to help them build their confidence and carry some momentum into their upcoming four game road trip.
When: 8PM MST
Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena Area, Salt Lake City
TV: AT&T SportsNet-Rocky Mountain, ESPN, SPEC
Radio: 1280 AM/97.5 FM
What To Watch For:
It will be interesting to see how well Rudy Gobert plays in this game with no Anthony Davis. Marc Gasol has looked like a shell of himself in most games this season, especially defensively, but Gasol is a good shooter and Rudy has had a hard time defending stretch big men that can shoot in the past. It’s not to say that Rudy won’t have any impact at all but if Gasol gets into a groove from outside it could make it a very difficult night for the Jazz to get enough stops to win this game.
Bonus What To Watch For: Mike Conley Snub Game
I know it won’t happen because Mike Conley is humble and doesn’t seem to care that much about individual awards but I wish that Mike would drop 50 with 15 assists just to show the coaches that they were wrong. It’s hard to argue against anybody that snagged one of the reserve spots honestly, but I am of the opinion that when it’s close the tie should go to the better record. I won’t name any names but there is at least one west reserve that I feel you could have gone either way and since the Jazz have the best record in the league, they should have gotten three all stars. Not that it really matters but I don’t think this team is in the position that they are in without Conley and he should have been rewarded for it.