The Los Angeles Lakers need to start winning. Otherwise, they will be putting their chances to even make the playoffs at a greater risk. Up next for them is a meeting with the rolling Utah Jazz, who hit the road after a string of successes at home.
Catch this game live on Thursday, February 17, at 11 AM, Manila time
Away: Utah Jazz (36-21/15-11 on the road)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Mike Conley Jr.
- SG: Donovan Mitchell
- SF: Bojan Bogdanovic
- PF: Royce O’Neale
- C: Rudy Gobert
Utah is loving the month of February. After demolishing the Houston Rockets in a 135-101 victory last Tuesday at home, the Jazz will be stepping out of Salt Lake City for the first time this month with the hopes of extending their win streak to six games. All those wins came at home for the Jazz, who have also averaged 117.7 points during that stretch. Even better for the Jazz is the return of center Rudy Gobert. The Stifle Tower got back to action against the Rockets after missing nine games with a calf injury. He looked good in that game, scoring 14 points on 7/8 shooting and grabbing 7 rebounds in just 22 minutes.
Meanwhile, Mike Conley Jr. scored just 2 points on an atrocious 1/8 shooting, though he was able to dish out 10 assists. Conley can get going again offensively against the Lakers, whom he torched for 20 points. albeit in a 101-95 road loss last January. Utah owns the highest-scoring offense in the NBA, with 114.0 points per game and the best effective field goal percentage (55.8%), and both could manifest against a Lakers team that’s allowed their last three opponents to average 118.3 points on 48.7 FG%. Utah is 5-0 against the spread in its last five games overall.
Home: Los Angeles Lakers (26-31/17-13 at home)
Projected Starting Five:
- PG: Russell Westbrook
- SG: Avery Bradley
- SF: LeBron James
- PF: Anthony Davis
- C: Dwight Howard
Maybe seeing the Los Angeles Rams win Super Bowl 56 has lit a fire under the Lakers, who will be looking to end a three-game slump. LeBron James and company nearly pulled off an upset win on Super Bowl eve, as they lost to the Golden State Warriors on the road, 117-115. Still, the Lakers rewarded their spread bettors with a clean cover as 7.5-point underdogs. James led the Lakers with 26 points but missed a crucial free throw in the clutch while Anthony Davis went 1/3 in the fourth quarter. James and AD combined for a nauseous 2/13 shooting in the final period.
Los Angeles will only go as far as where those two superstars take them, and the hope for the Lakers is that having both of them on the floor this Thursday will be more than enough to take down the Jazz again. Davis was not around when the Lakers beat Utah in January, leaving James to carry a heavier load. The King rose to the occasion and pumped out 25 points, while Stanley Johnson, Malik Monk, and Talen-Horton Tucker combined for 40 points off the bench. With Davis now available, the Lakers should be able to make it harder for Gobert to get his usual numbers. The Lakers are 7-2 against the spread in their last 9 games after a loss.
Spread: The Lakers responded to the embarrassing loss to the Portland Trail Blazers with a much stronger performance against the Golden State Warriors. And with plenty of rest between that game and this rematch against the Jazz, it’s fair to expect the Lakers to show up much better for Thursday’s contest. And the same Lakers’ bench that hurt Utah in January is still healthy for the rematch following another impressive performance in the Golden State game (42 points). Taking the Lakers (+4.5) here to cover.
Over/Under: Both the Lakers and the Jazz are top 10 in the NBA in shooting percentage. While the Jazz are just 24th in field goal attempts per game (86.2), they allow 90.1 per contest, which is good news for the Lakers, who are fourth in the NBA in possessions per 48 minutes. Taking the Over (227.0) for this game.