The (16-3) Lakers host the (12-8) Utah Jazz tonight at the Staples Center. Their first of the three game season series against the team the Purple and Gold dismissed in the opening round of the 2008-2009 NBA Playoffs.
This is a big week for the Jazz, one that sees them face the Spurs, the Lakers twice and the Orlando Magic. Utah beat the San Antonio on Monday, which helped them win the season series against the Spurs. The healthy tandem of All-Star point guard Deron Williams & Carlos Boozer has led the resurgence for the Jazz.; they’ve won five of their last six games.
However, the Jazz have a 53-93 all-time record against the Los Angeles Lakers. To be exact, they’re 38-35 at home; their record away from Salt Lake City is 15-58. More importantly they’re 3-16 at Staples Center or should I say their personal house of horrors.
Carlos Boozer is leading the Jazz in scoring, averaging 21.3 points per game, although he logged an impressive 35 point and 13 rebound night on December 4th against the Pacers. It was the third time in his career that he has achieved that level of performance in both categories, there are only two players in the history of the franchise the have put up those type of numbers more frequently, Truck Robinson did it 5 time & Karl Malone 60 times.
Utah has been up and down all year, an enigma if you will. Their a team that can play well one night and turn a 50-36 second quarter lead against the Timberwolves into a loss the next. The Jazz are a team that will compete but just don’t match up, the Lakers have been their worse nightmare.
Utah happens to be playing Los Angeles at the wrong time for them. The Purple and Gold are playing very well, they are 13-2 at home and currently on a 9-game winning streak reaching 100 points in each game with no end in sight. The size and length of Pau Gasol & Andrew Bynum has and will continue to outscore, acquire more rebounds and silent stifle the Jazz.
Kobe Bryant, in this writer’s opinion is the league MVP again, averaging 28.9 points per game and to describe what he’s done in two words; I would have to say that he has ‘consistently dominated’ and has made impressive performances a routine act. The Jazz are a team that lacks leadership, defensive toughness, a shot blocker and at times focus.
We’ve reached the one quarter mark of the season and the Lakers are the best team in the league; one of the teams that are surging in concert with improving on a daily basis. The Lakers defense in continuously improving and playing better against the screen and roll play which they’ll face tonight.
The Jazz are a team that executes well in the half-court offense, Deron Williams is averaging 18.9 points & 9.9 assists per game. The combination of Derek Fisher and Shannon Brown will have to stay in front of him and limit the dribble penetration.
Tip-off: 7:30 PM PST
- Los Angeles: FS West (Joel Myers & “Hot” Rod Hundley)
- Utah: FSN Utah (Craig Bolerjack & Ron Boone)
- Los Angeles: 710 ESPN (Spero Dedes & Mychal Thompson)
- Utah: 1320 AM KFAN (David Locke, David James & Patrick Kinehan)
- Luke Walton (Back)
- D.J. Mbenga (Sprained Ankle)
- Andrei Kirilenko (Back)
- Ronnie Price (Foot)
- Kyle Korver (Knee)
- Matt Harpring (Knee & Ankle – Season, possibly career over for veteran forward)