Utah Jazz vs Los Angeles Lakers
Thu Mar 19, 10:30 PM EST – ROOT, TWSN
Line: UTA -4.5, O/U: 183.0
Staples Center – Los Angeles, CA
There was a point in time, maybe earlier this season, for sure last season, that you’d have looked at the Jazz then looked at the Lakers and not seen much difference. Yes, the Jazz had “potential” in the wings with some of their young players, but a combination of poor coaching and what seemed to be the unfulfilled promise of some of those young players it seemed they would be perpetually in the lottery where they could simply collect another young player to add to their collection. The Lakers, meanwhile, were/are in their downturn with less players who had the p-word attached to their trajectory, but similarly lacking in an ability to win games.
The difference today, however, is that the Lakers’ downturn is still very much a real thing and the Jazz have begun to cash in on that potential and turned it into tangible progress. Credit a lot of factors — the maturity of the players, a young big (Rudy Gobert) proving to be a steal of his draft class, Quin Snyder proving to be the right leader to steward this group of guys — but the fact is that this team has taken a step forward this season. They have won 11 of their 14 games since the all-star break and showing that they will be a team to be reckoned with — if they aren’t already — if they continue on this path.
The backdrop for this game, then, is a lot about what one team who is starting to turn the corner after an especially long bend and a team who hopes to do the same. Only, you know, a lot faster. This, of course, has been one of the themes of the season — something that will happen in a league full of teams who have set a desirable foundation while your team is still drawing up the blueprints.
As for the action on the floor, these teams have squared off several times this year to this point so the game will likely go as the others have. The Jazz have the best player on either team (Gordon Hayward) and enough talent on their front line in Derrick Favors and Gobert to neutralize the Lakers’ best positional strength. For those still rooting for Lakers’ wins, the hope would be that the team’s quality depth and 2nd unit can outdue their Jazz counterparts to the point that the game is interesting in the 4th quarter and down the stretch where, in this league, anything can happen. After all, the Jazz, for all their strides, are still a young team who can make mistakes in games that are close late.
Of course, for those of you who want the Lakers to not win, you probably won’t have to hope too hard. You can likely skim the game and tune into the NCAA tourney to dream about the next prospect who can, hopefully, help build the type of foundation the Jazz have already started to form.
Where you can watch: 7:30pm start time on TWC Sportsnet. Also listen at ESPN Radio 710AM Los Angeles.
Pretty sure Kentucky would beat Lakers.
Also every minute Kelly is on the floor is a minute of my life lost. Now on when he comes in I will use the time to rearrange my sock draw.
Boy what would they do without Wes at the end of games?
I think Ken and I are Twins. He is Arnold.
wes johnson = lowest IQ in nba?
Reggie Hammond says
Wes is clutch this bizarro year
-Lakers 2nd straight season w/ at least 50 losses.
– Brings total of five times in Laker history they have hit this infamous mark.
– Third time it’s happened since team has relocated to L. A.
– T’ Wolves won last night…keep hope alive.
Sign of the times…I’ll be watching with keen interest the results of the Knicks vs 76er’s game tonight.
Hilarious. When I saw that stat yesterday, that the Lakers hit 50 losses for the second straight year, I knew that BCS would post it here. 😉
OKC is probably going to shut down Durant.
bryan S. says
So quiet. Did anyone watch the game? If you missed it, you missed a very hard fought, physical, old-school battle. Sure, the shooting was poor but the defense from both teams was very good. Clarkson again, took his game to another level with great decision making and change of pace ball skills. Exum is already a very good man defender (and that’s about it right now), and stripped Clarkson once as Clarkson attacked the paint. Thereafter, Clarkson showed more awareness and evaded Exum’s aggressive ball swipes. Tarik Black again showed his athleticism, motor, and even passing skills, as he found Wesley on the baseline with a high one bounce pass for a dunk. If Black can develop some offensive skills he can be a rotation player in the league. I also liked the way he and Ed Davis got into Gobert; holding him to a few measly boards, points and blocks. Very scary fall for Gordon Hayward–hate to see that–he seemed okay.
Meanwhile, the T-Wolves, playing about 6 guys, beat the Knicks. With our loss, it was a very satisfying evening. Sunday’s match-up with the Sixers has potentially big implications for our pick position.
Wow, I remember some of the same comments being made about Wes Johnson being made about Lamar Odom. The only difference is that Lamar was a starter in the league for years and made mental mistakes at the end of Lakers games, however without him the Lakers win one less championship. Wes Johnson is neither a starter nor a finisher, what he is though is a capable role player. Johnson’s had a different head coach his entire tenure as an NBA player. Each coach demands something different from him as a player. Since joining the Lakers, he’s shown progress and with this year’s on floor experience he’ll be integral to the Lakers bench next season.
Many on this board considered Exum worthy of the Lakers pick this year. What’s the assessment of Exum as a player versus Clarkson? Which player is perceived to have more upside?
One step closer to a top 3!!!!!
Chris J says
The highlight of the Jazz game was seeing Randle on the bench. Wow, have the mighty fallen.
I’m officially now off the Durant bandwaggon. Unless of course he comes back 100 percent next year 😉
J C says
There is no joy in Mudville.
Unless, of course, Tank Commander Scott can conjure up a loss to Philly Sunday.
If Philly can beat the Knicks tonight and us on Sunday they would be tied! Now that is something to look forward to this weekend.
rr: OKC is probably going to shut down Durant.
If his foot injury persists, without a definitive sample of games to prove his health and production, the Lakers would be obliged to pass on KD as a FA during the summer of 2016. The Lakers would likely be coming off of three straight losing seasons and I know the FO would be desperate to turn the tide at that point. However, after dealing with Kobe and seeing how losing a max player essentially paralyzes a franchise I can’t see them taking such a risk. Imagine signing KD to a max deal and hoping he either gets healthy or stays healthy – yikes!
I believe Jim Buss thought signing two max FAs to turn this thing around would be an easy fix. However, selecting a free agent — one that is the right fit (age, mileage and health wise) could be more difficult than he anticipated.
A better plan may be to ensure we keep our top five pick in this draft and be as aggressive as possible in the FA market this summer in advance of the cap expansion next year. Even if we net Towns in the draft I would advocate signing Greg Monroe (age 24), who can play the Five or the Four, while we figure out what we have with Towns and Randle. I would also pursue Brandon Knight (age 23) a RFA, even if it pushed Clarkson the a sixth man role. I would try to sign both Tobias Harris (age 22) and Khris Middleton (age 23) to provide help at the Three and Two.
I think the Lakers could get much of this done with quick aggressive moves this summer. They may need to get creative with structuring the contracts or provide an opt out options in 3 years so the players can retest the market. However, I think getting busy this summer can make all the difference in the world. The Lakers will talent in place before the cap goes up next summer. The Lakers could still sign an elite free agent, if they chose. However, they would have the leverage to sign the right one. We want to avoid a FO that is desperate and as a result makes a franchise killing move in the process.
BCS: While you were all over the second straight 50 loss year, you failed to note the fact that this year the Lakers were eliminated from the playoffs at the earliest point in history. You are slipping : )
Todd: “We want to avoid a FO that is desperate and as a result makes a franchise killing move in the process.” Once again – you are trying to have our decision makers avoid making decisions. Eventually you will come around to my line of thinking that there is only one real way to accomplish this : )
Durant: We seem to be writing him off quickly, but when superstars have issues like this, it further shows how incredible Kobe’s career is.
@ Todd — I have been thinking along the same line. Part of it is that I’m tired of losing the other part is that if we wait until next summer every team will add $20+ million in cap space.
Like you I am very concerned about the mileage that virtually every elite FA will have when they hit the market. K’s foot, Love’s back Westbrook possibly burning himself out — each of them will have huge red flags and after living through these last few years with Kobe being injured I don’t want to relive that again.
I say lets go for it this summer.
– @ KenOak, lol, and you noticed I didn’t even make a Kobe connection :-).
– With all the player injuries, pending salary cap increases, proposed changes to length of season and post season team selection (top 16 teams vs top eight from each conf), the front offices of NBA teams will be under increasing pressure to get it right.
– Rumor: Spurs will be interested in Marc Gasol if Duncan and Ginobili retire. The Spurs are one team I can see Gasol considering. Lakers and Knicks would be wasting their time going after Marc.
– Laker fan choices: optimist, pessimist, or realist?