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The NBA is on an exciting schedule on Tuesday night, as the In-Season Tournament is back on the menu! Closing the evening's program, we'll focus on the matchup between Lauri Markkanen's Utah Jazz and LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers!
The Utah Jazz (4-9) aim to cut their losing streak off before it grows to three games in a row. The Los Angeles Lakers (8-6) are steadily climbing the Western Conference standings and have ambitions of breaking into the top five.
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The Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Lakers face off in a matchup between Western Conference rivals. While the Jazz project is in the lottery for another season, the Los Angeles Lakers are trying to establish themselves as Championship favorites.
While their three-point shooting hasn’t been particularly impressive, the Lakers have been able to grind their way to victories. Averaging 11.9 points (19th) on 48.6% shooting from the field (6th) and 56.4% from inside the arc (5th), there’s no question that the Lakers’ goal is to the rim. At 39 years old, LeBron James is the catalyst of their offense - leading the team with 26.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 6.5 assists per game on 58.6% from the field and 39.7% from three.
The Utah Jazz have struggled through the season, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. They’ve allowed 122.0 points per game (22nd) on 48.9% from the field (24th) and 36.8% from three (27th). They’re great at finding three-point buckets, 14.1 per game (7th), but it hasn’t been enough to compensate for their defensive liabilities. Lauri Markkanen is one of their few bright spots, posting 24.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 3.5 threes on 48.7% from the field and 40.0% from three.
Walker Kessler (Elbow) remains unavailable for the Utah Jazz. The Los Angeles Lakers have listed Gabe Vincent (Knee), Jarred Vanderbilt (Heel), and Jalen Hood-Schifino (Patella) as unavailable. At the same time, Anthony Davis (Hip) and LeBron James (Calf) are day-to-day.
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While LeBron James is questionable to participate in this matchup, our expectations are high as the Lakers hope to secure a victory over a lesser conference foe. Despite being the oldest player in the NBA, James has proven to be one of its most productive, staying on track with his production. Against the defense-averse Jazz, LeBron should make a massive impact in this matchup.
In his 20th NBA season, LeBron James remains the undisputed leader of the Los Angeles Lakers. He’s averaging 26.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 6.5 assists per game on 58.6% from the field and 39.7% from three-point range. His consistency is notable, having missed just a single game this season.
When James takes on the Jazz, he’ll set the offensive tone. The Jazz defense is poor, in the bottom third of points, field-goal percentage, three-point percentage, and assists allowed per game. Given the expected pace of play, James should clear 7.5 assists with ease.
Austin Reaves has struggled to live up to his contract through the early parts of the regular season, but he still has plenty to offer the Los Angeles Lakers. A skilled shooter with a solid basketball IQ and a gritty disposition on the defensive end, Reaves has been able to positively contribute despite his efficiency numbers falling off through 14 games.
On the season, Reaves has posted 13.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game on 45.1% from the field and 35.7% from three-point range. Against the rapid pace that the Jazz will try to set, expect Reaves to find plenty of opportunities to convert from three-point range.
Teams: Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Where: crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, California
When: 10:00 PM EST, Tuesday, November 21, 2023
Christian Jope is a writer, social media strategist, and data analyst. A Queen’s University Alumni, Christian is an author and social media strategist with Raptors Cage, while also working closely with MLSE and Canada Basketball through community-driven events.
Email: [email protected]More info on Christian Jope
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