The Lakers got back in the win column this past Tuesday when they defeated the Utah Jazz 108-94 in front the Staples Center crowd. Tonight, the Lakers are looking forward to finishing the 2013 preseason strong against the Jazz, as the first game of the regular season is next week.
On Tuesday, the Lakers got a pretty big spark from the reserves, as they scored 74 points en route to a Lakers victory. A few players in particular that stood out were Jordan Farmar and Wesley Johnson. The two have been bothered by injuries throughout the preseason, and rarely had the opportunity to show fans what they bring to this roster. Farmar came in and changed the pace, as he used his speed and athleticism to help the Lakers get easy buckets in transition. Johnson used his superb athletic ability and improved shooting to do the same.
The energy of the second unit is what carried the Lakers to a victory, and that’s going to be expected on many occasions this season with the status of Kobe Bryant still uncertain. We should expect head coach Mike D’Antoni to continue going deep into the bench to carve out which players he feels will be useful in his rotation. All in all, the Lakers’ primary focus tonight against the Jazz should be to remain healthy and to continue building on the good chemistry they’ve developed in training camp.
The Jazz boast a young frontcourt of Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors who gave the Lakers some issues in that first quarter of Tuesday night’s game. Favors’ athleticism was very effective throughout the game as he had a game-high of 13 rebounds. Kanter’s size was tough to deal with for some of the Laker bigs. He’s the type of big man that enjoys staying grounded, which makes him very difficult to defend. Not having Chris Kaman really showed the Lakers lack of depth at the center position. While Pau Gasol is offensively capable of playing center, he has had some challenges protecting the paint, and that was shown a bit against the Jazz.
The Jazz backcourt is spearheaded by Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks. Both are very gifted athletes and are capable of playing both guard positions. Hayward is very effective at running the floor and getting easy baskets in transition. Burks has amazing size and strength, and his ability to handle the ball also is something that is very unique, as it allows him to initiate the offense. These two players’ strengths really exposed the weaknesses of the Lakers in transition defense and protecting the paint. It’s going to be key that the Lakers improve on that as the season progresses, as those two elements are key if they want to be a much improved defensive team.
Things To Look For
The Last Roster Spots – Look for some of the guys at the end of the bench such as Marcus Landry, Ryan Kelly, and Elias Harris to get some minutes. The Lakers don’t know yet whether they are going to carry 14 or 15 players on their roster, so it’s going to be interesting to watch the depth chart battle. Landry has shown struggles shooting the ball, and both Harris and Kelly really haven’t had the opportunity able to really show much, but expect them to get plenty of minutes tonight.
Nash And His Health – Steve Nash’s health has been a topic of concern since he came to the Lakers. Last season, it was the fracture in his leg, and this year he’s already having issues with his ankle and neck. Nash is going to have to have some fortune in the health department if the Lakers are going to have any success early in the season without Kobe Bryant. Expect the Lakers to rest Nash tonight, as his status for the regular season is more important than the final preseason game.
Utah Jazz (1-5) @ Los Angeles Lakers (3-4)
7:00 PM PST, October 25, 2013
Honda Center, Anaheim, CA
TV: Time Warner Cable Sportsnet, NBA TV
Radio: ESPN LA 710
Jazz Projected Starting Lineup
PG: John Lucas III
SG: Gordon Hayward
SF: Richard Jefferson
PF: Derrick Favors
C: Enes Kanter
Key Reserves: SG Alex Burcs SF Jeremy Evans PG Scott Machado C Andris Biedrins
Kobe Talks About The Importance Of Team Chemistry