9:00 PM ET, December 27, 2013
EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City, UT
Even while the Los Angeles Lakers lost again, Pau Gasol and his YouWager fans were happy with the team’s performance on Christmas. Now it’s not clear if the power forward will be around to help them build on the performance.
Los Angeles may have had some extra motivation in their last game, facing the Miami Heat on national television, however Gasol hopes they bring a similar effort when they meet the Western Conference-worst Utah Jazz tonight in Salt Lake City.
The 33 year-old is listed as day-to-day and reportedly did not travel with the team to Utah due to an upper respiratory infection which caused him to miss a game last week. The L.A. team makes it back home on Sunday to face the Philadelphia 76ers.
Gasol seemed to be doing fine on the 25th, when he had 13 points and 13 rebounds in 29 minutes of a 101-95 defeat versus the Heat.
The Lakers (13-16) led defending champs by 10 points and never trailed by double digits even while playing without Kobe Bryant (knee) or point guards Steve Nash (back) and Steve Blake (elbow).
Online sports betting experts consider this was a significantly better performance than the previous two games for Los Angeles, who lost 102-83 versus the Golden State Warriors on Saturday and 117-90 versus the Phoenix Suns two nights later.
Without Gasol the Lakers the Lakers have a league-worst minus-5.0 rebounding margin. The Jazz are among the worst at minus-2.9 and has been outrebounded in eight of the last nine games.
As the Lakers try to avoid a season-high fourth straight defeat, Utah (8-23) will try to to halt their worst home losing streak since the 2010-11 season.
Utah has dropped four straight home games, but three losses came to elite teams – Indiana Pacers, Portland Trail Blazers and San Antonio Spurs — while the other came in overtime versus the Sacramento Kings. The Jazz are returning from a 2/3 road swing.
Utah had won four straight versus Los Angeles before losing the last meeting, 102-84 on Jan. 25 in L.A.