Preview: Lakers open their four-game road trip against the Utah Jazz

The Lakers have a winning record. That’s not something you can say every day because the last time the Lakers had a winning record it was during the 2012-13 season. That is a long time ago, to say the least. The Lakers will embark on a tough four-game road trip starting on Friday against the Utah Jazz. The game will be televised on Spectrum Sportsnet at 6:00 PST.

After trailing for most of the game on Wednesday night against the Houston Rockets, the Lakers were able to storm all the way back to seal the victory. Unlike the meteoric pace the Lakers played with against the Rockets, the Jazz will try to slow it down.

The Jazz is a solid defensive team with the ” Stifle Tower” Rudy Gobert protecting the paint and wreaking havoc on defense. The Jazz had an unusually poor defensive performance against the Portland Trail Blazers as they gave up 113 points and allowed Damian Lillard to score 39 points on 13-for-20 shooting.

The Lakers had a poor defensive performance themselves as they gave up 114 points to the Rockets. Los Angeles was unequivocally better in the second half as they held the Rockets to 43 points and only 18 points in the fourth quarter.

The Jazz are not known to be an offensive juggernaut like the Rockets, especially with Gordon Hayward being out, but that doesn’t mean the Lakers should relax on defense. Joe Johnson, who signed with the Jazz this summer, had an offensive explosion against the Blazers scoring 29 points in only 31 minutes on a scorching 12-for-16 shooting.

One of the most impressive aspects of the win against the Rockets was the Lakers’ scoring distribution and balance. D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, and Jordan Clarkson combined for 63 points shooting a combined 61% from the field. If the Lakers want to carve and challenge the Jazz’s defense, they need to bring a similar type of offensive balance and ball movement that they played with against the Rockets.

The Lakers are a young team, so it is important for them to start this tough road trip on a winning note. It will be a challenge to win in Utah’s home opener, but remembered what happened when the Lakers last played the Jazz? This happened. So, anything is possible.

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