The Utah Jazz are getting ready to head over to Los Angeles to take on the Lakers tomorrow night. I thought it would be fun to get some perspectives from Laker land and see how things are going over there and get a few thoughts on this game. Jacob Rude over at Lake Show Life was kind enough to talk with me and answer a few questions!
1. Lakers fans have grown accustomed to winning through the years, so considering the current record the Lakers have, this season has to be disappointing. What is the mood among Lakers fans right now?
The mood in Lakers Nation right now is frustrating. It is not frustrating from a standpoint of wins and losses, but from the standpoint of injuries ravaging the team. It started last season, but we were blessed with one of Kobe Bryant’s best seasons ever to carry us into the playoffs. This year, there’s no Kobe and more injuries. At this point in the season, we’ve given in and most have embraced the tank.
2. The injury bug has hit the Lakers pretty bad this season, Kobe obviously being the biggest loss. Other than Kobe though, what injury has hurt the Lakers the most this season?
It’s hard to put a finger on a specific injury that really hurt outside of Kobe. Certainly losing Steve Nash six games in after hearing about his summer of rehab and rejuvenation hurt. But it was not one injury that doomed us, but that they are constantly occurring. For example, last week was looked at as a week the Lakers would finally start to get healthy. Steve Nash, Steve Blake, and Jordan Farmar returned, only to have Jodie Meeks, Jordan Hill, and Nick Young all go out injured within the first game and a half. The Cleveland Cavs game last week is a perfect microcosm of this season.
3. Earlier this season, the Jazz were looking for a point guard when Trey Burke got injured. There were rumors out there that the Jazz were talking to Kendall Marshall. Obviously the Jazz decided to pass on him, but the Lakers picked him up. How much of an impact has he made for you guys since picking him up?
Kendall Marshall has been one of the most pleasant surprises this year. He was brought in only out of necessity really after an injury to Xavier Henry (our fifth-string point guard) left us with absolutely no one to play point guard. The Lakers brought in Marshall and all he’s done the last 18 games is score 11.2 points per, dish out 10.7 assists, and is second in the league in three-point shooting percentage. Mitch Kupchak made the sly move of signing him to a two-year deal, so he will certainly be a Laker next year.
4. Talking about the game a little bit, who will be a key player for the Lakers to get a win and what is a key factor the Lakers will need to focus on against the Jazz?
Go ahead and take a look at the stats for the Lakers this year, specifically the point per game leaders. Our top five goes…
1. Pau Gasol – Out
2. Nick Young – Out
3. Jodie Meeks – Out
4. Kobe Bryant – Out
5. Xavier Henry – Out
So it is hard for me to point to one player that will make or break this Laker’s game. In reality, at this point, it’s a team-game for the Lakers. In their win over the 76ers on Friday, Six players were in double figures ranging between 19 points and 14 points. The two Steves – Blake and Nash – will be big in dictating the offense, but no one is crucial to stop for the Jazz to win.
5. This game is the third matchup this season between the Jazz and the Lakers. Each team has both come away with a victory apiece on their home courts. Ultimately, who wins this game and how do you see it playing out?
The Lakers team you played last had three players in the starting lineup that are now on the bench with injuries. I know I’ve harped on that throughout this preview, but I can’t stress enough how decimated we’ve been by injuries this year. Granted, this team is night and day better at home versus on the road, it’s hard telling what to expect from this unit. My gut tells me they can pull out a win, while my head wants them to keep on tanking as this game has big implications in the #TankRank. Final prediction: Lakers 111, Jazz 104.
The Jazz and Lakers face each other tomorrow night at Staples Center starting at 8:30 p.m. MST. Thanks to Jacob and Lake Show Life for helping us out with this article! If you are interested in reading Lakers articles, Lake Show Life is the place to go.