Key Reserves: SG Gordon Hayward, PF Derrick Favors, SG Kyle Weaver
Jazz – PG Devin Harris (Hamstring – Questionable), G Ronnie Price (Calf – Day to Day), SG Raja Bell (Foot – Day to Day).
Lakers – C Andrew Bynum (Knee – Day to Day), PF Pau Gasol (Right Knee Contusion – Day to Day)
The Lakers (55-21) are coming off just their second loss in their last 19 games which came Sunday afternoon against the Nuggets. The new-look Denver squad handed the purple and gold their 21st loss of the season, 95-90, in what turned out to be a very ugly game from start to finish.
The Lakers and Jazz (36-41), who met in Utah just last Friday (which resulted in a 96-85 Laker victory), will face-off for the final time this season Tuesday night at Staples Center. This is a Utah squad that is decimated with injuries, Devin Harris has missed the team’s last six games, while Ronnie Price and Raja Bell have missed the last two games.
Despite all the injuries, head coach Tyrone Corbin will have the rest of his troops ready for battle. In their last meeting, C.J. Miles had a strong game, scoring 24 points on 8-16 from the field. The Jazz bigs’ were held in check by their Laker counterparts. Jefferson had a decent game with 17 points and 10 boards, but didn’t have a huge impact on the outcome. F Paul Millsap, who is usually a shoe-in for a double-double, ended up with a pedestrian 16 points and five rebounds. C Kyrylo Fesenko was inserted into the starting line-up for the April 1st meeting to counteract the Lakers size, and he definitely made his presence felt, and Kobe did not take kindly to it.
The Utah backcourt is feeling the most harm by the recent injury troubles. PG Earl Watson does a good job of running the show, and distributing the basketball, but is not much of a scoring threat. SG Gordon Hayward hasn’t quite found his NBA niche, but is a very talented player. After those two, SG Kyle Weaver will fill in as best he can. Weaver, a former Pac-10 standout for Washington State had a nice game this past Sunday against Sacramento, scoring 19 points in 30 minutes of playing time.
Three Keys to a Laker Victory:
1. Hindsight is 20-20: The Lakers beat this same team just a few days ago, look back and see what worked, and what didn’t.
2. Do not take them lightly: Though they are hampered by injuries, this is still a very potent squad.
3. Control Tempo: The Lakers always play much better when they take their time and execute their offense.