Lakers vs. Jazz Game Preview: Lakers Look To Win Without Pau

The Lakers are looking to rebound from their 101-95 loss on Christmas against the Miami Heat, as they’ll match-up against the Utah Jazz tonight at Energy Solutions arena in Salt Lake City.

This team continues to struggle as they adjust to playing without Kobe Bryant , and tonight things won’t be any better against the Jazz. Pau Gasol will miss tonight’s game due to an upper respiratory infection. This doesn’t make their chances any better on the road, even if it is against one of the worst teams in the league.

They’ll have to get the job done collectively, and rely on their energy and effort if they intend to win.

Frontcourt:
The Jazz boast one of the better young bigs in the NBA with Derrick Favors. He’s extremely strong, athletic, and a monster defensively and on the glass. With Gasol not playing tonight, it’s going to be up to Chris Kaman and Jordan Hill to match the intensity of Favors.

Veteran Richard Jefferson is far from the athlete he once was, but his ability to knock down open shots will make it difficult for Wesley Johnson to creep off of him defensively. On offense, Young should be able to exploit him as he lacks the lateral quickness to keep up at this point in his career, but he is still a strong and active defender, capable of getting steals and blocks if a player isn’t careful.

Backcourt:
Gordon Hayward is one of the more underrated young wings in the league. He is deceptively athletic and possesses great length and shooting ability for the two-guard spot. Trey Burke has been playing phenomenal as of late, and is finally starting to the resemble the player that the Jazz believed that he could be.

Jordan Farmar, Jodie Meeks, Nick Young, and Xavier Henry are all going to have their hands full matching up with the guards in this game. What’s most important is that they remain active defensively, and aggressive offensively. They will be relied upon as the primary scorers for this team with Pau out.

Keys To The Game
Keeping Utah Off The Glass: In order to run and get out in the open court, the Lakers have to rebound, and they have struggled to do that whenever Gasol is out of the lineup. If that is the case tonight, then expect Kanter and Favors to collect their fair share of offensive rebounds and for the Jazz to rack up second chance points.

Limit Turnovers: With only one active  point guard, the Lakers have a tough task ahead of them in running Coach D’Antoni’s system, which is designed to use a lot of  drive-and-kick actions. This team has struggled with turnovers with the lack of point guard depth, and it’s been tough for D’Antoni to adjust his coaching philosophies amidst that predicament.  The Lakers have to limit their turnovers because against a younger, more athletic Jazz team, turnovers will lead to easy baskets.

Three-Point Makes: It’s known that much of the Lakers’ success this season has come from their ability to convert from behind three-point line at a high level. They are one of the top three-point shooting teams in the league, and it’s been proven that if they can’t capitalize on open opportunities, then it’s tough for them to win ball games.

Utah Jazz (8-23) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (13-16)
6:00 PM PST, December 27, 2013
Energy Solutions Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
TV: Time Warner Cable Sportsnet, NBA TV
Radio: ESPN LA 710

Jazz Projected Starting Lineup
PG: Trey Burke
SG: Gordon Hayward
SF: Richard Jefferson
PF: Marvin Williams
C: Derrick Favors

Key Reserves: SG Alex Burks SF Jeremy Evans  Enes Kanter

Lakers Projected Starting Line-up
PG: Jordan Farmar
SG: Jodie Meeks
SF: Wesley Johnson
PF: Shawne Williams
C: Chris Kaman

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VIDEO: Mike D’Antoni On Lakers Vs. Utah Jazz Match-Up And Getting Coal On Christmas

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