Lakers vs. Jazz Odds
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
Utah’s road trip was not kind, as the Jazz ended up losing five of the six games, including a loss to the L.A. Clippers in which they were leading by 25 points. However, as many people know, the Lakers have not played stellar basketball either and enter this matchup clinging to a spot in the play-in tournament.
Both teams have a lot to fight for in this one, but will the Lakers be more motivated to get back in the playoff race or will we see the Jazz correct their errors and get back in the win column?
All Is Not Well in Laker Land
After being briefly bumped out of the play-in tournament by San Antonio earlier this week, the Lakers now find themselves 10th in the West by a half game.
However, the Lakers still have lots of work to do in order to solidify that position, and quite frankly I’m not sure if they will be able to do that.
The Lakers simply have not been able to get much going on the offensive end of the floor this season, entering this matchup 24th in Offensive Rating at 109.6. They are shooting nearly 47% from the floor as a team, but in the grand scheme of things the Lakers have not been able to find a rhythm with their offseason additions alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
They have struggled mightily on the defensive end as well, ranking 21st in Defensive Rating at 112.4. That rating has exploded to 126.7 in their most recent three games — losses against Philadelphia, New Orleans, and Dallas — signifying that things on that end of the floor have not improved in the slightest.
To make matters worse, James is listed as out with an ankle injury and Anthony Davis is doubtful to suit up. That’s a big blow for this team at any point in the season, but it looms large right now as the Lakers simply can’t afford to keep losing games.
Can the Jazz Finally Get Right?
Utah has put together a rather disappointing stretch of games, and it has come at one of the worst times.
As previously mentioned, the Jazz have won just one of their most recent six games. That has caused them to slide to the sixth in the Western Conference, and they are now are just 2.5 games ahead of Minnesota Timberwolves for the seventh spot.
In that stretch, Utah has seen its defense completely collapse. The Jazz had been in the top half of the NBA on that end of the floor for a majority of the season, but have recently seen their Defensive Rating skyrocket to 122.1 and have allowed their opponents to shoot 50% from the floor. They have also been getting killed from behind the arc, seeing their opponents shoot 43.3% from deep in their last six games, which ranks last in the NBA.
However, despite the recent turmoil, there is still some hope for this Jazz team.
Many of their struggles were the result of Rudy Gobert being absent for a good portion of their road trip, but he is officially back in the lineup and at full strength for this matchup. Bojan Bogdanovic has also missed some time, but enters this one as questionable and has a shot to play. That should give this team the extra jolt that it needs.
The recent struggles for both L.A. and Utah are tough to overlook, but I’m much more confident in Utah’s ability to pull things together.
Even though the Jazz blew a 25-point lead to the Clippers on Tuesday, there were still a lot of positive signs. For one thing, the 115 points was Utah’s highest point total in six games, and it managed to shoot 55% from the floor overall, 39% from deep, and score 56 points in the paint.
The offense has been there for most of the season, as indicated by their league leading Offensive Rating of 116.1, and given that both James and Davis are going to miss this one, I expect the offense to continue to flourish.
Returning home after a long road trip should provide the Jazz with a change of scenery, and I expect them to take advantage of it and a struggling Lakers team.
Pick: Utah Jazz -12 (-115)