The Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers recently met in an overtime game that saw several key players out on both sides. On Monday, the Jazz and Lakers will meet once again, with more star power available to at least one team in this matchup. The Jazz will hope to maintain their grasp on the West’s top seed with a win thanks to a refreshed roster.
Utah has won two of its last three games and four of its last six. Their loss over the weekend to the Lakers came in overtime, despite the fact that the Jazz sat out Mike Conley and Rudy Gobert to protect against minor injuries. With Gobert and Conley both probable for Monday’s game, the Jazz will present a much bigger threat in their second game against the Lakers in three days.
One player who will still be unavailable for the Jazz is Donovan Mitchell. The most talented player on this Jazz roster, Mitchell, is set to be re-evaluated later this week after sustaining an ankle injury. With the postseason fast approaching, the Jazz are not likely to rush him back into action to make sure he is good to go for the playoffs.
Even without Mitchell, the Jazz have another scorer capable of stepping in off the bench to deliver a punch. That scorer is Jordan Clarkson, who led the Jazz with 27 points in Friday’s loss to the Lakers. Clarkson looked eager to make a statement against his former team on Friday and is likely to do the same on Monday.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers have alternated wins and losses over the course of their last 11 games and are coming off of a win on Friday over the Jazz. They will look to break this fascinating trend with a second straight win over Utah. To make that happen, the Lakers will need to play better on the defensive end than they did on Friday.
Despite getting the win over Utah on Friday, the Lakers allowed all five Utah starters to score in double figures. With Conley and Gobert likely to return for this game, the Lakers will be in danger of doing the same thing in this rematch. And with multiple starters returning, the Lakers will have to defend a more dangerous Jazz bench this time around.
In this game, another question will be how Andre Drummond performs against tougher competition in the paint. Drummond led the Lakers with 27 points on Friday, taking advantage of the lack of Rudy Gobert on the interior. With Gobert back in the picture, Drummond will be tasked with making an impact against the best defensive big man in the league.
Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Lakers Prediction
The fact of the matter is that the Jazz are way too good for this version of the Lakers when the Jazz are mostly healthy. With no LeBron James or Anthony Davis to get in the way, expect Gobert to control the paint and for the Jazz to get the good looks they always get from three-point range. Utah will win and cover the spread and avenge Friday’s loss.
Pick: Jazz -5.5