The Utah Jazz (36-42) play the Los Angeles Lakers (40-38) tonight as the end of the season looms large.
The two teams have had a lot of personnel swapped between them over this season, with the now fantastic-looking trade of PatBev for Talen Horton-Tucker as well as the trade deadline swap that saw the Jazz get a top 4 protected Lakers pick and Russell Westbrook in exchange for now key Lakers depth pieces Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik Beasley. This second trade had the desired effect of propelling the Lakers past the Jazz while also allowing the Jazz to tank more openly, having shut down Jordan Clarkson and Collin Sexton since March 6th and February 14th, respectively (as well as Rudy Gay, but that actually might be helping the Jazz a bit). All of this has opened up time for THT, who’s been stuffing the stat sheet with 19.3 points, 6.6 assists, and 5.8 rebounds over the last ten games. Even though he’s not shooting well (43% from the floor, 30% from three) over this period, the tantalizing flashes of potential are there.
Yet, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again - it’s incredible how competitive the Jazz have been under Hardy regardless of who they’ve put on the floor since the trade deadline. Key defensive piece Walker Kessler got ruled out with concussion symptoms against the Nets and the Jazz still mounted a furious comeback that had them within one point against the Nets on Sunday. But the Jazz have no incentive to win this one, while Lebron and the Lakers have every incentive to avoid the play-in games. With two of the Lakers’ last four games being against the Jazz (the Suns and Clippers are their other matchups) and Walker Kessler out, even with Lebron and Anthony Davis various levels of questionable, look for the Lakers to try to put this out of reach early.
When: 7:00 PM MST
Where: Vivint Smart Home Arena
TV: ATTSN-RM (AT&T Sports Net-Rocky Mountain), SPECSN (Spectrum SportsNet)
Radio: KZNS/KSL/KTUB, KSPN/KWKW-LAL
Projected Starting Lineups
Jazz: G: Talen Horton-Tucker G: Ochai Agbaji F: Simone Fontecchio F: Juan Tuscano-Anderson C: Kelly Olynyk
Lakers: G: D’Angelo Russell G: Austin Reaves F: Troy Brown Jr. F: Rui Hachimura C: Jarred Vanderbilt
- Jordan Clarkson - Finger (Out)
- Rudy Gay - Back (Out)
- Collin Sexton - Hamstring (Out)
- Walker Kessler - Concussion Protocol (Day to day)
- Lauri Markkanen - Left hand contusion (Questionable)
Los Angeles Lakers
- D’Angelo Russell - Foot (Probable)
- Anthony Davis - Foot (Probable)
- Lebron James - Foot (Day to day)
- Mo Bamba - Ankle (Out)