The Lakers are back at work tonight for the first game of 2009 at Staples Center against the always tough Utah Jazz. The Lakers are 25-5 and off to their best 30-game start since the 1999-2000 championship season and the Utah Jazz are working on getting a healthy starting lineup.
Utah has been an injury riddled team; Carlos Boozer, Deron Williams, Mehmet Okur and Paul Millsap have missed time due to injury.
The Jazz always play the Lakers tough and are still a dangerous team (Lakers won seven of the ten games played last season); one that will screen-roll you high and low, back screen and pick and roll you to death. When both teams are healthy this is a match up of two of the leagues best half court offenses.
The match up at the point is always nice to watch, Deron Williams, one of the best young point guards in the NBA going against the seasoned veteran Derek Fisher; his former teammate.
Derek is two inches shorter but being a former Jazz, he knows their offense very well and Fisher always plays tough against his old team. His coming off of his best shooting performance of the season; going 9-of-12 for 19 points. His timely shooting, strong defense and 14 point average helped to end the Jazz season last year.
Injuries are unfortunately a part of the game and an opportunity for someone to step up and for the Jazz that has been PF Paul Millsap; he has averaged 18.7 points and 11.5 in his last 16 games. Sasha Vujacic’s minutes have increased but when playing the triangle offense you don’t need a traditional point guard to run the offense, but it helps.
This is the Lakers first game since putting up a season-high 130 points against the Warriors. Kobe Bryant has averaged 29.3 points and the team has won 8 of the last 10 games. Look for excellent player movement and ball movement.
The Lakers have an advantage with their long front line and will win by controlling the tempo, glass, stopping dribble penetration and rotating out to three point shooters.
Tipoff: 7:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: Fox Sports West 1 HD (Joel Myers & Stu Lantz)
- Utah: FSN Utah HD (Craig Bolerjack & Ron Boone )
- Los Angeles: AM570 KLAC (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Utah: 1320 KFAN/B98.7 and the Jazz Radio Network (“Hot” Rod Hundley )
- Jordan Farmar (Knee)
- Carlos Boozer (Knee)
- Paul Millsap (Knee)
- Mehmet Okur (Back Spasms)