The Los Angeles Lakers travel to Salt Lake City to play the Utah Jazz at Vivint Smart Home Arena on Wednesday. The Lakers (18-3) had some high expectations coming into the year with the Anthony Davis signing and they’ve actually been outperforming most of them. In fact, they currently own the best record in the NBA and it’s the best record through 21 games that King James has ever had. That says a lot about how good this team is right now and it’s scary to think that this is only the beginning. Where they’ve been a huge surprise is on the defensive end of the floor, with Los Angeles ranking Top-4 in both points allowed and defensive efficiency. That’s a terrifying combination with James and Davis running the offense and it’s hard to argue that anyone is better than this team right now. The Jazz (12-9) come into this matchup losing four of their last five games which is easily their worst stretch of the season. What’s even more disturbing is the nature of those defeats, with Utah losing by at least 19 points in three-straight. That’s inexcusable from a title contender and it’s pretty clear what the issue is. It’s the offense, with the Jazz ranked 24th in points scored. Their defense has always masked their terrible offense but it’s disastrous when neither are working. In any case, Utah still has one of the most talented rosters in the NBA and their fourth-ranked defense should make them a threat all season long. Los Angeles won the first game between these teams this year, 95-86, on October 25. Prior to that, Utah won nine of their previous 11 games against the Lakers.
December 4, 2019