The Los Angeles Lakers need to improve their defensive energy on Friday to muster out a win against the Utah Jazz.
On Friday night, the Los Angeles Lakers host a Utah Jazz team that has won five of its last 10 games and two in a row. The Lakers have lost seven of the last ten, including six in a row. Sad as it is to say, the Lakers are far from convincing favorites against the team currently residing at the bottom of the Western Conference.
These two teams met in Utah one week earlier, but the Lakers came up short in a narrow 105-103 loss.
In that loss, the Lakers allowed Gordon Hayward too much space to operate, and the lanky shooting guard scored 24 points and handed out nine assists. Also, Derrick Favors was able to dominate the boards with a game-high 14 rebounds.
The Lakers cannot allow a repeat performance at Staples Center if they hope to avoid their seventh straight loss.
One difference between the game in Utah and the game in Los Angeles is Pau Gasol. Gasol was ill with an upper respiratory infection and did not travel with the team. In his place, Chris Kaman earned a rare start. Kaman scored 19 points, pulled down 10 rebounds, and blocked three shots in only 30 minutes. The Lakers can only dream Gasol will give them that level of efficiency and production on Friday night at Staples Center.
Another major change from the game in Utah is the Lakers' point guard situation. Only one week earlier, the Lakers were starting Jordan Farmar with Xavier Henry as his back up. One week later, Kendall Marshall is making his first start for the Lakers, and neither of the aforementioned point guards is available to play. Actually, Marshall is currently the only healthy point guard available for the Lakers, and that may not be changing for some time.
Truthfully, the Lakers have two games coming up at home that they need to win to save any hope of not losing the season. After Sunday’s game against the struggling Denver Nuggets, this black and blue group of purple and gold hits the road for 10 of its next 11 games.
After everything that happened in 2013, the Lakers could use a win to start off 2014. Tip-off for the Lakers and Jazz is 7:30 pm PST.