The Los Angeles Lakers are back in the Play-in picture thanks to the San Antonio Spurs’ loss to the Memphis Grizzlies Thursday. Can the Lakers help themselves this Friday by taking care of business against the Utah Jazz? Or, will the Jazz end their losing skid at the expense of the Lakers?
Catch this game live on Friday, April 1, at 10 AM, Manila time.
Away: Los Angeles Lakers (31-44/11-26 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Russell Westbrook
- SG: Malik Monk
- SF: Talen Horton-Tucker
- PF: Stanley Johnson
- C: Dwight Howard
Don’t expect LeBron James to be around to help the Lakers in this game against Utah. The four-time NBA MVP is still nursing an ankle injury that has already forced him to miss a game, which was last Wednesday’s 128-110 road loss to the Dallas Mavericks. Wit James unlikely to give it a go this Friday, Russell Westbrook is set to be focal point of Los Angeles’ offense that might or might not be a good thing for the team. If anything, Westbrook played well in the Dallas game, scoring 25 points to go along with eight rebounds and sixassists while shooting an efficient 9/17 from the field.
Another Lakers guard who’s looking to sustain a good form is Malik Monk, who paced LA against the Mavs with 28 points on the strength of a 6/10 shooting from behind the arc. The Lakers have defeated Utah twice already this season, though James had a lot do with that. Nevertheless, the Jazz aren’t doing well of late either, which bodes the Lakers’ chances to take Utah down again. The Lakers are 8-2 against the spread in their last 10 games versus Utah.
Home: Utah Jazz (45-31/26-11 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Mike Conley
- SG: Donovan Mitchell
- SF: Trent Forrest
- PF: Royce O’Neale
- C: Rudy Gobert
Utah’s struggles continue, as the Jazz picked up their fifth loss in a row in Wedneday morning’s 121-115 defeat at the hands of the LA Clippers on the road. The Jazz lost that game despite shooting a sweet 55.1 percent from the field and going 12/31 from behind the arc obviously because they couldn’t defend against Paul George and the Clippers’ attack. It was an especially painful setback for Utah because the team was up by as many as 25 points during one point of the contest, but watched that lead go up in flames in the second half.
The suffering could end this Friday, though, for the Jazz, as they lock horns with a seemingly hornless LA squad that has been playing like a headless chicken for the most part of the season. The Lakers just don’t have enough weapons at the moment to engage the Jazz in a shootout, with both James and Anthony Davis sidelined. Losing to the Clippers might just be the wake-up call the Jazz need to finally end their slump. The Jazz are 8-2-1 ATS in their last 11 games as a home favorite.
Spread: It’s the Jazz’s turn to get the better of the Lakers. Rudy Gobert will keep the Lakers from scoring easy baskets at the rim, while the Jazz strike almost at will on the other end of the floor against a thin LA lineup. Taking the Jazz (-12.0) to cover.
Over/Under: The Jazz will take advantage of the Lakers’ soft defense and score at least 115 points. The Lakers will rack up enough points in garbage time to get the total (225.5) hit the Over.