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Los Angeles Lakers at Utah Jazz Game Preview: Celebrate AK-47, Boo Kobe

Game 74: Lakers (15-58) @ Jazz (35-37)
Location: VIvint Smart Home Arena • Salt Lake City, UT
Time: 7:00 p.m. (MT)
TV: ROOT Sports • Radio: 1280 AM // 97.5 FM

Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

Tonight the Utah Jazz look to keep the good times around a little longer as they host the Los Angeles Lakers. THe Utah Jazz have 36 wins and with a win tonight they will return to .500 on the season. They are 22-13 at home and look to feast on an LA team that is 5-31 on the road. Utah is the 4th hottest team in the Western Conference right now behind the Golden State Warriors (9-1), San Antonio Spurs (8-2), and Oklahoma City Thunder (8-2) with a 7-3 record in their last 10 games. They have won eight of their last twelve and haven't had a slip up against a bad team since the March 4th loss on the road to an injured Memphis Grizzlies, or farther back, the February 27th loss at home to the Brooklyn Nets. Every win matters right now, and the Jazz play the Lakers twice more to finish this season. The first one should be a win.

The Lakers are playing on the second night of a back-to-back (they were blown out by the Washington Wizards 101-88 in LA last night), but only two of their starters even played 30 minutes. They could be tired, but they're not gassed. Nick Young didn't make it to Utah and is out. Intriguing rookie Larry Nance Jr. is also supposed to sit tonight. Anthony Brown is also out (for the season). And D'Angelo Russell, Kobe Bryant, and a few others are nursing minor injuries right now. They are hurt, and tired. And on the road.

So everything I know tells me that this could be a trap game.

2015 2016 GM 74 LAL at UTA - Player Stats

On the other side the Utah Jazz are honoring forward Andrei Kirilenko, and that should give the team a boost. They are doing it during the 2nd quarter though, which seems like a very strange time to do it. (Not even at halftime?)

Utah is as healthy as one can expect, Dante Exum and Alec Burks are still both out; and Tibor Pleiss is still with the Stampede. I think that Rodney Hood is statistically overdue from having a big game, he's usually hitting for 20 or more points once every six games. He has done it only once in the last 21 games. The team has a whole shot poorly last week, but being at home on friendly rims should make a difference. And a huge plus tonight should be Kobe, who has a history of big scores against the Jazz. He could over-extend himself on the second night of a back-to-back in his attempts at actually scoring more than 5 points (what he did in his last outing against the Jazz). His ego could hurt his team, I mean, more than it already has.

Gordon Hayward and Rodney Hood should dominate whomever they are matched up against. Roy Hibbert seems to bring out the best of Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert. (I don't even know why.) And with how Trey Lyles and Trevor Booker are bringing the heat off the bench I suspect that our bigs should carry the day.

LA has some nice pieces, but this really should be a Utah win if they concentrate and not fall into any trap game shenanigans. Quin Snyder will probably have his guys on the same page, unlike Byron Scott who is using stone tablets in time-outs.

Utah needs this. Los Angeles needs a time machine.