by Elmer Mejia
The Utah Jazz will be facing the Los Angeles Lakers this afternoon. They will be on the second of back-to-back games after playing the Indiana Pacers. The Jazz are still ahead of the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference. The Jazz must keep winning to maintain the top spot and not fall to second place. Here is a preview of what to expect against the Lakers.
No James And No Davis
These two All-Stars will not be fit to play for this game, so the Jazz must take full advantage of this situation. LeBron James is expected to return sometime next month, while Anthony Davis will return soon. The Lakers come off a loss to the Boston Celtics at home. They did not play too bad despite not having their two superstars. The Jazz won the last time that they met, so this will be a great opportunity to clinch the season series.
Jazz Players Stepping Up
Donovan Mitchell and company have stepped up in recent games. Bojan Bogdanovic was missed in the playoffs bubble last season. Now, he is fully healthy and it is great to have him back. Bogdanovic is averaging 15.2 points per game this season and they are coming in handy. Mike Conley is averaging 16.5 points per game. This helps out Mitchell not to be the only one who is contributing offensively.
Jordan Clarkson is averaging 17.2 points per game this season and that is coming off the bench. That has clearly helped the Jazz throughout the season, and it is great that he is back from injury. Rudy Gobert has been solid in defense as usual and has had some big games offensively. The Jazz work amazingly as a team and balance each other out.
Tough Match Despite Missing Lakers Stars
It will not be an easy match even though the Lakers are without James and Davis. They still have solid players like Dennis Schröder, Andre Drummond, Markieff Morris, Marc Gasol, and Montrezl Harrell. Gobert will have a busy day guarding Gasol and Harrell, but he has proven before that he can do the job.
Mitchell has to play a solid game and show out why he deserves to be mentioned with the other big names in the league. However, it looks unlikely that he will be playing. Mitchell came out of the game in the third quarter due to a low ankle sprain. He is hard to guard and will take the team to another level when he returns to full health. Hopefully he doesn’t miss many games and the Jazz can count on him when playoff time comes. This is a huge blow for the Jazz. However, they must cope with this loss for the time being.
The Jazz must not take the Lakers lightly and start strong. They need to be prepared for any surprises in the game. The Jazz come into this game as the better team and must translate that to a win against a Lakers team that is not playing their best basketball. The Lakers are in fifth place and are being chased down by the Trail Blazers as well the Dallas Mavericks.
Nationally Televised Game
The game against the Lakers will be a national televised game that will be seen on ESPN. The tip off will be at 2:30 PM Mountain Time. This will be a magnificent opportunity for the Jazz to show off their skills and why they are the best team so far in the NBA.