Pregame Shoot Around: Lakers vs. Jazz
Pregame Shoot Around: Lakers vs. Jazz
Tonight the Lakers take on the rival Utah Jazz. They will be looking to bounce back from a very disappointing loss to the Toronto Raptors. A game where they had a commanding lead in the 2nd quarter, and then just watched it whither a way as poor play for the remainder of the game led to their ultimate downfall. Let’s take a look at some of the keys to the game tonight as the Lakers look to bounce back against the Jazz, who are off to an identical 2-3 start like the Lakers.
Consistency- Lakers have yet to put together a fame where they played well for the full 48 minutes. A lot of that can be attributed to the youth of the team and the influx of new players. Luke is still juggling lineups early in the season to get his rotation down, and this has led to some entertaining but uneven performances from the Lakers. The Lakers cannot come out and find themselves down by 15 points to the Jaz, because in all likelihood there will be no coming back. The team has gone through long stretches of games where they can’t seem to hit a shot, and have trouble identifying a go to player who can help them get out of ruts offensively. Luke Walton is going to want to get that under control as the season progresses. This team does not have the talent to go out, and not give an excellent effort for 48 minutes and expect to have much success.
3’s – The Lakers have not been able to shoot 3’s as a team at all this year, save for one game against the lowly Phoenix Suns. Through the first five games of the season the Lakers are shooting a dismal 28.7 percent. You got Clarkson and KCP leading the team at 39 and 38%. But outside of that, Lonzo shot has been broke all season, Brook Lopez has been unreliable shooting 28% thus far, and Kuzma while shooting a high percentage overall, has not been able to find the stroke he had during the preseason, he’s only hit 23% and both of those dudes are taking around 4 threes a game. Brook Lopez really need to keep his big ass in the post and operate from there for a majority of his time on the floor. I don’t mind him shooting 3’s but he doesn’t need to be putting up 4 a game in limited minutes, especially when it’s clear early that his shot is off from distance. Brandon Ingram is the only other guy on the team taking 3;s at a high clip, and he is only hitting 27% and he should really focus on finding a comfort range from himself, because his consistency from all over the floor has been sporadic. The Lakers are getting good looks out of their offensive sets, and from drive and kicks, they just have to start knocking them down and a better clip. Otherwise, Luke might have to do something drastic like pull the entire starting lineup all at once again.
Rudy Gobert- Who is going to be able to stop Rudy Gobert from single handedly dismantling the Lakers. Rudy always seems to play well against the Lakers, and I don’t see Brook Lopez doing much to thwart that. We might get a dose of Andrew Bogut tonight to help combat that. However I think it will become apparent early that Bogut is just not the guy he once was, and Gobert will probably still be able to have his way down low. Lakers defensive strategy of employing a small ball lineup could work, or it could backfire significantly and cause the Jazz to go on a huge run. How the Lakers are able to deal with Rudy down low, will determine a lot in regards to who wins the game. At this point I really don’t see a good answer to the problem he presents for the Lakers.
Final Thought: The Lakers matchup well personnel wise with the Utah Jazz. Rudy Gobert is definitely a problem at the center spot. But otherwise the Lakers have the roster to be able to compete with the likes of the Utah Jazz. The Jazz usually come out and give the Lakers fits, so they will have to get some of their decencies under control otherwise, the Jazz will be walking away with a win tonight. If the Lakers can hit at least 30% of their 3’s collectively, and Lonzo Ball can be a threat as a scorer in addition to impacting the game in so many different ways the Lakers could pull off the win tonight. But again it’s going to come down to consistency, and getting a unified effort from the team for a solid 48 minutes. Also, if I never see Tyler Ennis on the floor again this year, I would be totally okay with that. I got the Lakers pulling things together tonight, and getting a rather impressive win 114-103. – JD