When the Lakers went into Dallas last Wednesday, the Mavericks were playing their worst basketball of the season, losing six contests in a row capped by a blowout defeat at Detroit.Yet when L.A. came to town, the Mavs found a way to dig out their best effort, getting red hot from the perimeter in the second half to turn an early deficit into a 109-100 win.
In related news, the Jazz (27-17) are coming into Tuesday evening’s game at Staples Center playing their worst hoops of the season, losing four consecutive games for the first time since January of 2009.
The Utah Jazz come in the Staple center tonight for the first for their first game on the west coast after loosing four straight games on the east coast part of a five game road trip. The Jazz try to avoid their first 0-5 road trip since nearly six years. Jazz haven't beat Lakers in last 16 games at Staple center. Utah (27-17) went into the 5 game road trip winning three straight, averaging 126.0 points and shooting 55.1 in its last two home games.
That hot shooting has decreased on the Jazz's five-game trip. Utah shot 42.2 percent and averaged just 91.8 points in all four games. Jazz have only beaten Lakers once at Staple center while kobe in the lineup. The Lakers (32-13) lost the first meeting against Jazz this year at Salt Lake city with a defeat of 96-102. Lakers won last 2 out of 3 games coming off a win ageist Denver. Since then Lakers had a three day rest and and starting the five game homestead against the Jazz tonight.
The Lakers are well aware that their size advantage in the post has been critical to recent success against the team from Salt Lake City. Andrew Bynum will go against 6-10 Al Jefferson, while Pau Gasol’s matched up with 6-8 Paul Millsap. Throw in Lamar Odom off the bench, and the Lakers have the ability to play some volleyball around the rim. This year’s Jazz is a bit bigger than last, as Jefferson has a slight size advantage over free agent departure Carlos Boozer (6-9), but Phil Jackson said the Jazz still play about the same way.
"They still run the same things,” Jackson said. “Their emphasis (may be) different. They’re going to run what they operate in.” Jackson would like to see his team continue to focus on defense, which has improved markedly since paint-clogging Andrew Bynum returned to the starting line up on Dec. 29 against the Hornets. The Lakers came into that game ranked 6th in the NBA in field goal defense, but have bumped up to No. 3 since then, helping towards an 11-3 record in the process.
The Jazz will try to come in looking to end their four road game loosing streak, As the Lakers plan to start their five game homestead with a win.