NBA Game Preview: Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Lakers

Feb 16, 2022

Game: Utah Jazz @ Los Angeles Lakers  

Time: 10:00 p.m. ET 

Odds:  Jazz -4.5, Lakers +4.5  

Total: 227 

The Jazz are on a six-game roll and have won their last three by an average of 25 points. Their opponent tonight, the Lakers, are on a three-game skid having dropped three tough ones to Milwaukee, Portland, and Golden State. The losses to the Trail Blazers and Warriors were by a single bucket. Beating the Jazz at home will not be easy especially if LeBron James does not play. James is listed as questionable with a knee issue.  

The Jazz continue to be the NBA’s top-scoring team averaging 114 points per game. They exploded for 135 in their win over Houston on Monday night. Donovan Mitchell scored 30 points and Rudy Gobert was back in the lineup and finished with 14 points and seven rebounds in 22 minutes. While Gobert is a three-time Defensive Player of the Year, his value on offense is greater than most think. With Gobert off the floor, Utah’s offensive rating falls by 5.1 points.  

Despite the three straight losses, LA seems to be getting close. Russell Westbrook seems to be feeling better now that the trade deadline has passed. He had 19 points on just 13 shots in the loss to the Warriors. Talen Horton-Tucker had 17 coming off the bench. James is averaging 29 points a game and if he plays the Lakers should be in this one. The Lakers are 4-2 ATS in their last six games. They have had success against the Jazz at home too. The Lakers have covered the spread in five of the last six games against Utah at home.  

The two teams played back in January at Arena and the Lakers pulled off the upset winning 101-95 as a 5.5-point underdog. The Jazz were in the midst of a 4-12 stretch, but if the Lakers can replicate what they did in January, they will be in this game tonight. The Lakers under Frank Vogel have typically been very good defensively as they were against the Jazz in January. This year, the Lakers have been playing at one of the fastest paces in the league – currently second behind Charlotte – and that has made playing defense more difficult. 

Since Utah’s 4-12 run, the Jazz completed a perfect 6-0 homestand. What has helped has been the returns of Mitchell and Gobert. The next challenge for Utah will be winning on the road. The Jazz have lost five straight road games and they are only 2-6-1 ATS in their last nine game away from home. That run includes last month’s SU and ATS loss at Arena. 

The Under had hit in five straight Jazz games before Monday night’s win over Houston. For the Lakers, the Over is 4-1 in their last four games. The Jazz are only 20th in pace while LA is second. The Lakers are 10th in the NBA in scoring averaging 111 points per game.