10 Things to Know: Lakers at Jazz (10/28/16)

Here is what you need to know before the Lakers take on the Utah Jazz.

The Lakers began their season in strong fashion by knocking off Houston on Opening Night, 120-114. Jordan Clarkson sparked the victory from the bench by scoring 23 of his team-high 25 points in the second half, while also icing the game with five points, a steal and an offensive rebound in the final two minutes.

Though James Harden was dominant for the Rockets, amassing 34 points, 17 assists and eight rebounds, a truly collective effort pushed Los Angeles to a 1-0 start. No Laker even played 30 minutes, and Clarkson was joined by similar efforts from D’Angelo Russell (20 points) and Julius Randle (18 points, seven rebounds, six assists).

This game marks the beginning of the first road trip of Brandon Ingram’s career. The second-overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft scored nine minutes in his debut on Wednesday and now hopes to help continue the Lakers’ momentum in Salt Lake City.

The last time these two teams faced off, it resulted in one of the most iconic moments in franchise history. On April 13, Kobe Bryant led the Lakers against the Jazz in the final game of his career. The now-retired star dropped 60 points — the most of any player in the NBA last season — and spurred L.A. to a come-from-behind victory in the final minutes.

After facing Houston coach Mike D’Antoni’s high-octane offense, the Lakers will now get a much different look from the Jazz. Last year, Utah ran the league’s slowest pace with only 93.3 possessions per game — though they might look to speed it up with their starting power forward, Derrick Favors, out due to a bone bruise.

In addition to Favors, who averaged a career-high 16.4 points and 8.1 rebounds last year, Utah expects to be without the services of leading scorer Gordon Hayward (19.7 ppg; finger fracture) and the reliable Alec Burks (13.3 ppg; ankle rehab).

With so many weapons unavailable, the Jazz should rely on their latest import: seven-time All-Star Joe Johnson. The 35-year-old was electric in his Utah debut, dropping 29 points in 31 minutes during Tuesday’s loss to Portland, which marked the most by a Jazzman in a season opener since Carlos Boozer had 32 in 2007.

Johnson was flanked by a familiar foe, Rodney Hood, who dropped 26 points on Tuesday and scored 30 in the first half alone against the Lakers back on March 28. Hood spent some time alongside Russell, Randle and Ingram this summer, as all four were members of the USA Select Team, which helped the U.S. National Team prepare for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Speaking of, this game promises to be full of Olympians, as Rudy Gobert (France), Boris Diaw (France) and Joe Ingles (Australia) all represented their home countries, while Raul Neto joined L.A.’s Marcelo Huertas on Brazil’s roster. The Lakers’ other Olympic representative, Jose Calderon (Spain), is considered doubtful for this game due to a strained left calf.

Gobert will serve as a formidable defensive test for the young Lakers, as the 7-foot-1 24-year-old held opponents to the lowest shooting percentage at the rim last year (41.0). Gobert also averaged 2.2 blocks and led a defense that yielded the second-fewest points of any team (95.9).

Tip-off: 6 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet and Spectrum Deportes
Radio: 710 ESPN and 1330 KWKW