The Utah Jazz will go up against the Los Angles Lakers fresh after losing Donovan Mitchell to an ankle injury yesterday.
The Lakers, who are also still dealing with injuries of their own, are looking for all the victories they can after having lost LeBron James and Anthony Davis for what has been an extended period of time.
The Jazz had been relatively lucky with injuries before Donovan Mitchell went down having not lost significant time from any of their core starters. Today’s matinee will be the start of what will likely be at least a few weeks of games minus their star guard and it will be interesting to see how the team responds.
Luckily for the Jazz they still have two all-stars that can lead the team in Mitchell’s absence. Mike Conley will likely be the leader of the offense with Mitchell gone but the Jazz will need contributions from other players on offense like Bojan Bogdanovic and Royce O’Neale to make up for the loss of Mitchell.
When: Friday, April 16th, 2021 at 2:30 PM MT
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
TV: ESPN, AT&T SportsNet-Rocky Mountain
Radio: 97.5 FM | 1280 AM The Zone
What to watch for
How do the benches do?
The bench for the Lakers came up big for them in their most recent against the Boston Celtics. If it weren’t for a huge game by Jaylen Brown the Lakers might have gotten the win. The Lakers have alternated wins the last few weeks with big performances for different players on different nights.
Some nights they’ve seen newly acquired Ben McLemore step in and put up nice numbers while other nights it’ll be Kyle Kuzma.
For Utah to have a nice night against the Lakers they’ll need to have a solid all-around performance and that starts with the bench. If Utah can play good defense for all 48 and get efficient nights from Jordan Clarkson and Joe Ingles they should win this relatively easily with the Lakers likely being without Anthony Davis.
The Jazz will definitely get contributions from Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic, but with Mitchell out it needs to be all hands on deck to find the win. Utah has done this plenty in the past but they’ve had to rest up players who were dealing with nagging injuries. Jordan Clarkson returned against the Indiana Pacers after a handful of games missed and it will be interesting to see if he can string together two good performances in a row. The same goes for Joe Ingles. Ingles will likely get the start and the Jazz will have to rely on him for a scoring boost with Mitchell gone. We’ll also likely see a healthy does of Miye Oni now that Mitchell’s out and the Jazz need him to bring his athletic defensive presence but for him to also knock down his open shots. If the Jazz can get solid performances from these players, in this game and in the games Mitchell misses, they’ll be just fine.