The Lakers are coming off of an impressive 105-96 win over the Denver Nuggets who just happen to be the current second seed in the West.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis had huge games against the Nuggets and the bench played well too. Davis in particular further continued his defensive player of the year case by protecting the rim and being a nuisance for the Nuggets all night long.
The Lakers are going to have to play at the same level they played at against the Nuggets if they want to steal a game on the road against a tough Jazz team. The Jazz are 12-9 after coming off two straight losses and will be looking to pick up a much needed win.
The Jazz are currently the 23rd ranked offense and the 9th ranked defense. The Lakers should have the advantage as they rank better on both ends, but nothing is guaranteed, especially on the second night of a back to back.
It was reported Tuesday afternoon that Mike Conley will miss this game with “left hamstring tightness” so the Jazz will be without one of their three best players although Conley has struggled in his first year in Utah.
The Lakers will need to contain Jazz star Donovan Mitchell if they want to leave Salt Lake City with a win. Mitchell is currently averaging 24.5 points per game and 3.6 assists per game. Jazz big man Rudy Gobert is always a candidate for DPOY and is averaging 14 points, nearly 14 boards, and two blocks per game.
On paper the Lakers have the advantage but it’s going to take a lot of energy to win this game. If the Lakers are complacent with splitting a tough back to back they’ll lose. If they want to make a statement, this game is right there for the taking.