The Lakers are playing at home against the Utah Jazz tonight, after coming off of their toughest road trip of the season to-date, a trip in which they won one of four games.
Not only did they lose a lot of those games, but they aren’t coming out of the trip healthy. Nick Young strained his calf in the first game and Jose Calderon strained his hamstring, which leaves the Lakers with three guards left as D’Angelo Russell is also out.
The Lakers have some key injuries but the Jazz aren’t exactly the healthiest with George Hill, Alec Burks and Derrick Favors out. George Hill has been playing at an All-Star level this year and Favors gave Randle trouble in the first matchup this year.
While they are missing good players, they still have advantages as Rudy Gobert is still a towering defensive presence, #FutureLaker Gordon Hayward is great all around and Rodney Hood is a offensive force at times.
The Lakers will likely be at a disadvantage tonight, so here are a few keys to winning:
Randle needs to take advantage
With Favors out, Randle will most likely be playing against Boris Diaw for the majority of the game. While Diaw has good tastes in drinks with his Coffee love (EDITOR’S NOTE: Coffee is bad), he’s not that good of a player at this point in his career. He’s not close to the defensive presence that Favors is so Randle needs to take advantage on offense.
He can’t just play bully ball as that doesn’t always work, but he needs to play smart and use his athletic advantage in a well thought out way. Not only must he take advantage on offense, but defense as well, as he should be able to prevent the offensive inept Diaw from scoring.
Speaking about playing with smarts, the Lakers need to play smart against the Jazz. Without Russell, the starters haven’t played well and have turned the ball over a lot. The starters overall have been bad as their defense is horrendous and have made dumb mistakes that have cost them games. They need to play smart and play at least average defense if they want to win this game.
Keep The Bench Hot
The Lakers bench as been the key to their success this season. The bench lineup has had one of the best net ratings for any lineup in the NBA and have won most of their games for them.
But with injuries to some of the starters the bench has had to fill into the starting lineup. Brandon Ingram has had to start the past few games and it looks like Lou Williams or Jordan Clarkson might fill in at the guard spot with Calderon and Russell out. The bench has to keep up it’s production no matter who gets removed from it if they want to win.