Preview: Lakers at Utah Jazz

Preview: Lakers at Utah Jazz
Lakers center Jordan Hill tries to power his way to the basket against the defense of Jazz forward Jeremy Evans, left, and guard Alec Burks during a game last season. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

The Lakers (12-28) travel to Utah to visit the Jazz (13-26) on Friday night, but they'll do so without Kobe Bryant, who will miss his seventh game of the season to rest.

On Thursday, the Lakers lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers (20-20) at Staples Center. A quick turnaround in Utah will be a challenge, especially without Bryant.


Wayne Ellington is expected to start for the Lakers' superstar.

The Jazz are without Alex Burks (shoulder). The Lakers are also missing Julius Randle (knee) and Steve Nash (back).

Both teams have lost three straight.

Key matchup

The Jazz are built around guard/forward Gordon Hayward and center/forward Derrick Favors.

Hayward is a threat as a scorer (18.9 points a game) and playmaker (4.0 assists). He's shooting 45.0% from the field and 36.5% from three-point range.

Favors is at 16.2 points with 8.6 rebounds, while shooting 55.55 from the field.

The Lakers will need to focus their perimeter defenders on Haywood while the big guys deal with Favors.

Wesley Johnson may be the Lakers' best choice on Hayward, although Ellington, Nick Young and possibly Jordan Clarkson may all take turns against him.

Jordan Hill, Ed Davis and Tarik Black may be Coach Byron Scott's best bet on Favors.


After a difficult start to the season, point guard Trey Burke has played well in January, averaging 17.3 points and 4.7 assists a game, while shooting 42.9% from the field.

That's a jump from December, when Burke shot just 37.1%.

The Lakers need big performances from point guards Jeremy Lin and Ronnie Price, especially in the absence of Bryant.



At full strength, with Bryant and not on the second night of a back-to-back, the Lakers might be the pick.

That's not the case on Friday.