The Lakers and Jazz meet today for the second time in three days. Utah is looking for a better fate and some better results in April, they are just 6-4 SU and 3-7 ATS so far this month. The Lakers are still biding their time until their stars are back. If they use the time wisely they could be primed for another title run when the team is healthy.
Utah Jazz (42-15) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (35-22), SPECSN, 10:00 PM ET
Jazz Need to Find New Rhythm Without Top Scorer
Only time will tell if this Jazz team has what it takes to win an NBA Championship. What we do know is that they are having a great season and that it sucks they are going to be without top player SG Donovan Mitchell for at least the rest of the month and probably longer.
He missed the last game as did starters PG Mike Conley Jr. and C Rudy Gobert. The lineup they put out there with those absences was competitive, forcing overtime, but a lack of depth hurt them as the bench scored only 15 of the 115 points the Jazz scored in the loss.
Scorer Jordan Clarkson is more than capable of replacing the scoring that Mitchell provided to the starting unit but his punch off the bench has been critical to the team's success this season. They have no replacement for that and to be fair Clarkson is not nearly as good an all-around contributor as Mitchell.
Utah is just 3-7 ATS in April.
Lakers are Getting Closer to Being the Team They Want to Be
Forward Anthony Davis is working his way back into game shape. He is not quite there yet though and LeBron James is even further away. As the Lakers close out the season they are still going to be leaning on a threesome of C Andre Drummond, PG Dennis Schroeder, and SF Kyle Kuzma.
Drummond and Schroeder are probable with minor injuries and the Lakers need them to have a chance tonight. Drummond might not be versatile but he is good at what he does and has to be feeling pretty good after scoring 27 points in the OT win. That led the team was the most he has scored in a game since joining the Lakers.
I feel like Schroeder was destined to struggle with LA because he needs the ball in his hands to be effective, something that is difficult when LeBron is around. He is off his best game as a Laker too with 25 points and eight assists. If Conley is a little slow this evening with a knee injury that is a matchup that Schoeder can win and it might affect the game.
Kuzma is similar to Schroeder in that he might not be a great fit when James is around. The key for him is patience. When he forces it his game suffers because he is not a great shooter. He needs to be active to find a rhythm, not just bomb away.
With those three taking on larger roles the Lakers are looking better without their top players than they have in weeks.
Do note that the Lakers have not been good in underdog roles. They are just 3-11 ATS as an underdog this season.