NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, December 27th (All times Eastern)
Los Angeles Lakers (13-16) at Utah Jazz (8-23), 9 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Lakers will try to halt a three-game losing streak Friday night when they visit EnergySolutions Arena to take on the Utah Jazz.
The Lakers dropped their last two on a recent road trip, falling to the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns. On Christmas night, LA lost to the two-time defending champion Miami Heat, 101-95.
The game was tied 83-83 with 8:25 left before Miami used a 9-0 spurt to seize control of the contest. It was a fun exhibition for LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, who teamed for two great alley-oops, although Kobe Bryant was certainly missed.
"It's not as special when Kobe's not out there," acknowledged James.
Nick Young led the way for the Lakers with 20 points off the bench. He is the team's leading scorer at 15.7 ppg.
Jodie Meeks finished with 17 points, followed by 14 from Xavier Henry and 13 from Pau Gasol, who also grabbed 13 rebounds. Wesley Johnson managed 12 points and Jordan Hill pulled down 10 boards.
With Bryant out many more weeks with a broken bone in his knee, and Steve Nash nowhere near returning, the Lakers will be without the third former All-Star on Friday.
Gasol didn't travel with the team to Salt Lake City as he is dealing with an upper respiratory illness.
"I think it's lingering a little bit. I think it does affect him," said head coach Mike D'Antoni. "Like anything else, you're not 100 percent physically and you're going to have shorter times of energy and stuff like that. He'll get over it. He'll be fine."
The Jazz have alternated losses and wins over their last five, all of which took place on the road. They play three of their next four at home.
Ono Monday, the Jazz finished off their sojourn with a 104-94 setback in Memphis to the Grizzlies. On the trek, Utah toppled Charlotte and Orlando, but fell to Miami and Atlanta.
"I think we did pretty well [on the road]," point guard Trey Burke said of the team's recent road swing. "We were 2-3. A lot of people didn't even expect that out of us."
Against the Grizz, the Memphis bench destroyed the Jazz reserves to the tune of 51-18. The Grizzlies shot 55 percent from the 3-point line.
Burke and Richard Jefferson shared high-scorer honors with 18 points apiece. Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward finished with 16 points each and the remaining Utah players combined for 26 points.
The Jazz took two of three from the Lakers last season and have won four of five overall. LA is just 4-6 in Salt Lake City over its last 10 visits.
12/27 10:23:14 ET