Pregame Report: Lakers @ Jazz

Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The (54-20) Los Angeles Lakers beat down express has made a stop in Salt Lake City, Utah to increase the loss total of the (36-39) Jazz at Energy Solutions Arena.

The Dallas Mavericks left Los Angeles feeling as if they were on the TV show Punk’d. The only thing missing last night was hearing former Arizona Cardinals head coach screaming and I quote, “they are who we thought they were”.

In a hotly anticipated battle for playoff, positioning, the Lakers emphatically dominated the Dallas Mavericks, beating them by 28 points. The Mavericks took exception to the Lakers dismantling them when tempers flared and five players were ejected and three technical fouls were assessed.

These two teams could meet in the second round of the playoffs. In the event, the Mavericks advance. The Lakers sent a very clear message to Mark Cuban and the Mavericks that said, “You are not ready!”

The Lakers will more than likely be short-handed tonight in the 75th game of the year, but that will not be a factor against the injury-riddled Jazz. The Lakers are literally rolling over every team in the NBA. They have now won 16 of their last 17 games. Even better, they’re doing it in dominating fashion, beating the Hornets and Mavericks by a combined 46 points.

The Utah Jazz, not in the playoff picture this season, is looking to snap a six-game skid. The Jazz are 5-16 since Ty Corbin replaced longtime coach Jerry Sloan. Look for two rookies Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors to log heavy minutes in the absence of three starters and a key reserve.

In the last meeting, the Lakers convincingly beat the Jazz 120-91. The key to the Lakers success is their defense. The defensive focus and offensive discipline have been outstanding. The effort, energy and desire are at a high level.

The Lakers need to establish their front line in the painted area and provide them enough touches to dominate. The front line has to start and finish the game aggressive. It would be nice to see the front line finish the game with 50+ points & 35+ rebounds.

The Lakers needs to control the tempo, do a solid job defending the screen and roll play, stop the dribble penetration of the guards, get back in transition, and quickly rotate out to open shooters. They need to limit the Jazz to one shot per possession and dominate the boards. They will have to play defense without fouling. It is imperative that they impose their will on the Jazz and own the boards on both ends of the court.

In a conversation with NBA.com, Kobe Bryant said, what the Lakers Nation already knows as well as what the rest of the league is afraid of “We’re getting really close to being ready and we’re locked in and focused. When we’re like that, we’re a tough team to beat.”

Starters
Lakers: D. Fisher, K. Bryant, R. Artest, P. Gasol, A. Bynum
Jazz:
E. Watson, G. Hayward, C. J. Miles, P. Milsap, A. Jefferson

Tip-off: 7:30 PM PST

Television -

  • Los Angeles: KCAL-TV9 (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
  • Utah: FS N Utah (Craig Bolerjack & Ron Boone)

Radio -

  • Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Luke Walton)
  • Utah: 1320 AM KFAN (David Locke, David James & Patrick Kinehan)

Injuries -

Lakers:

  • Devin Ebanks (Stress Fracture, Left Tibia) Out

Jazz:

  • SF Andrei Kirilenko (Knee) Out
  • SG Raja Bell (Foot) Out
  • PG Devin Harris (Strained Right Hamstring) Out
  • PG Ronnie Price (Calf) Out
Jeff Little is the pre-game writer for LakerNation.com. Follow him on Twitter.
  • LakerMarc

    Lakers don’t fall prey to big disappointment with the HUGE win on the first night of a back to back, followed by a loss. Be ready boys. Tear the Jazz up!!!

  • lakers

    Wow. Lakers have really been playing their best basketball all season. If you would have asked me about a m’onth ago if I thought the lakers would catch the Spurs..I would say no and now look how far they’ve come. It would be really good if lakers can catch them because that would mean the spurs would have to play the blazers..which would be really tough for them.
    Its crazy to think that when the cavs beat the Lakers, I actually started to doubt them but now that I think about it, it might be the best thing that has happened to the lakers to change their mind set and focus :) I SMELL A 3PEAT! …laker fans, let me know what you think of this?

    • SHOWTIME4EVA

      Yeah,they ball’in’.I was pretty sure it was going to play out as it is.actually I was positive. I don’t think the Cleveland game had anything to do with it.but for a long season and back to back and three final appearances I knew we were just laying in the weeds and then hit the jets toward the end because the spurs had such a huge lead, I have a feeling we turned up the heat too fast and long and hope we don’t play out during this long long playoff run. GO LAKERS!