The Los Angeles Lakers are back home at Staples Center Monday night, hoping a return to Southern California can help lift their spirits. The Utah Jazz are a formidable opponent, and one that’s already beaten the Lakers once earlier in the season.
The loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday was painful. It was a chance to knock down a Western Conference playoff team while they were hurting themselves, but instead the Lakers have lost three of their last four games. Injuries definitely took their toll during the road trip, and Jose Calderon joins the list with a strained right hamstring.
What that means to the starting lineup remains in the air, but Marcelo Huertas will likely see extended minutes. D’Angelo Russell will meet with team doctors prior to the game for an update on his knee, but there’s absolutely no need to get hopes up for his return. Wednesday marks the full two week recovery window, and it’s better to be surprised if he does return a game early than to be disappointed he sits another one out.
The super-deep Lakers now seem paper thin beyond their backcourt rotation. They’ve struggled defensively to protect the paint all season, providing less resistance than a Kleenex tissue. It’s felt exacerbated over the last few games, which is a major obstacle to overcome.
The Jazz are dealing with injuries of their own, with Alec Burks, Derrick Favors and George Hill all out. They’ve won five of their last six games despite the bumps and bruises, so it won’t be an easy out for the Lakers by any stretch.
Time: 7:30 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet