© Reuters. NBA: Utah Jazz in Los Angeles Lakers
Utah Jazz will be looking for some payback in the second match against host Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night.
The Lakers got a 127-115 extra-time win on Saturday, led by Andre Drummond’s 27 points, along with his eight rebounds. Point guard Dennis Schroder finished with 25 points, eight assists and six rebounds.
Utah head coach Quin Snyder, however, gave Rudy Gobert, Mike Conley Jr and Derrick Favors a break as his team played in the second game following a home win over Indiana Pacers on Friday.
Jazz team keeper Donovan Mitchell also failed to play on Saturday due to a sprained right ankle, which would leave him out for the next few games.
Expected to be Gobert, Conley Jr. and Favors will be available on Monday.
“It was a good attempt,” said Utah’s Joe Ingles, who finished with 20 points and 14 assists in a defeat to the Lakers. “A lot of guys don’t play often, have played hard minutes and played very well. I think we can get a lot of good from that.”
Specifically, the return of Gobert, one of the tournament’s best defensive centers, will create an inner resilience. Jazz was beaten 52-37 by the Lakers on Saturday.
Jazz defender Jordan Clarkson, who finished with the top 27 points in the team, said his team had a hard time facing LA’s larger squad, with Drummond taking up space inside.
“Once we get the men back, I think we’ll do a good job of keeping that paint down and preventing them from getting the baskets easily,” Clarkson said.
Los Angeles is finally starting to figure out how to win matches on a more stable basis with LeBron James (ankle) and Anthony Davis (calf) still recovering from injuries. The goal is for both players to return to the pitch before the regular season ends next month.
The Lakers have won 5 of their last 10 games and ended up 4-3 in their last 7-match trip without their two superstars.
“We are getting healthy at the right time and that’s perfect for us,” said Lakers striker Markieff Morris. “With this crazy season and with all these matches – consecutive matches and mid days, without our two best players, we have largely held it back.
“Now we’re bringing them back into full health and ready to make a fuss.”
Schroder took on more leadership roles at both ends of the exchange when James and Davis were out. In the past 10 games, Schroder has averaged 15.6 points and 7.8 assists.
The 27-year-old is also playing with persistent injuries, including an infected foot that limits his mobility.
“Dennis is a competitor,” Drummond said. “I’ve been playing against Dennis all of his career, and I got the chance to watch him and play against him, and he’s always been that way throughout his career.
“And now being his teammate and seeing it with his own eyes, he’s an incredible player. He doesn’t give up. He plays every possession as if it were his last. And defensively, he’s improved a lot more than what people give him. “
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