Lakers vs. Jazz, Three Things to Know: April 19, 2021
The Lakers (35-22) take on the Utah Jazz (42-15) on Monday evening at 7 p.m. for a second straight home game after defeating Utah 127-115 in overtime on Saturday.
Below are three things to know about the matchup:
WHO’S IN, WHO’S OUT (AGAIN)?
On Saturday morning, we knew that neither Donovan Mitchell nor Mike Conley were going to play for the Jazz, and that Derrick Favors was unlikely, but we didn’t expect Rudy Gobert to miss his first game of the season. As such, Utah started an unconventional lineup without a diving big man in screen/roll action, and they ended up attempted a wild number of threes: 59. They made 23 of them, well above their NBA-best 16.9 per game, led by stretch five Ersan Ilyasova’s six makes in eight attempts. Conley and Gobert are expected to return for Monday’s game, however, which should restore Utah’s system.
Meanwhile, the Lakers should have the same group available as they did on Saturday, though there hasn’t been a final ruling on Anthony Davis, whose return Frank Vogel said was “unlikely,” but not out of the question.
Andre Drummond owned the paint against Utah’s small lineups on Saturday, totaling 27 points on 10 of 15 FG’s, plus an efficient seven of eight free throws, along with eight boards, three assists, two steals and a block, finishing +18 on the evening. Those numbers will be tough to replicate from a scoring standpoint at least with Gobert back to clog up Utah’s paint. With that said, Gobert is a more conventional matchup for Drummond than Ilyasova, as Gobert will be rolling to the rim, and certainly not pulling Drummond out to the perimeter to attempt eight threes. L.A. controlled the glass, 52-37 (11-6 offensive), which will also be considerably harder to do with the Stifle Tower in the game.
JAZZ GET THEIR BENCH BACK
Conley and Gobert’s absence meant increased roles for typical subs Jordan Clarkson and Joe Ingles, both candidates for Sixth Man of the Year honors. Clarkson played a game-high 46 minutes and took 27 shots, hitting 11, including 5 of 15 3’s. Ingles played 39 minutes, and totaled a team-best 14 assists with his 20 points. Clarkson will likely go back to the bench with Conley’s return, while Ingles should still start in Donovan Mitchell’s place, but be asked to do less playmaking thanks to Conley’s inclusion.
The Lakers have several terrific players coming off their bench, many of which have had to start due to all the injuries, but Kyle Kuzma and Alex Caruso in particular would play real minutes in any NBA rotation. Meanwhile, the talent of Talen Horton-Tucker continues to emerge, and Markieff Morris and Montrezl Harrell have been solid as ever. Once Davis and James return, they’ll form quite the potent bench group. And that, by the way, isn’t even including Marc Gasol and Wesley Matthews, both of whom could start on several NBA teams.
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