The Utah Jazz look to post their seventh consecutive home victory over Los Angeles when they host the Lakers on Friday. Los Angeles will again be without forward LeBron James, who will miss his ninth consecutive game due to a groin injury.
The Lakers are 3-5 without James and the club announced Thursday that he will miss at least three more games prior to the next scheduled evaluation on Wednesday. Los Angeles has prevailed in its last two outings, notching double-digit victories against the Dallas Mavericks and Detroit Pistons. Utah recovered from a 21-point deficit to record a 106-93 home win over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday as star guard Donovan Mitchell was superb with 33 points and seven assists. "My biggest thing is not to change the mindset, just because we're down two point guards," Mitchell told reporters after the game, referencing injuries to Ricky Rubio (hamstring) and Dante Exum (ankle). "Just being aggressive and making the right reads. That's what I've been doing and that's what I'm going to continue to do."
TV: 10 p.m. ET, ESPN, Spectrum SportsNet (Los Angeles), AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain (Utah) LINE: Jazz -8.5
ABOUT THE LAKERS (23-19): Forward Kyle Kuzma scored a career-best 41 points in Wednesday's 113-100 victory over the Detroit Pistons and knocked down 16-of-24 attempts. "I know I'm a great shooter," Kuzma told reporters afterward. "My percentage may not reflect that, but I'm always confident shooting, and I'm always in the gym just trying to put work in every single day. It paid off (Wednesday)." His performance was certainly substantially better than Monday's win against the Mavericks when he was 4-of-20 shooting while scoring 13 points.
ABOUT THE JAZZ (21-21): Utah outscored Orlando 60-30 in the second half of Thursday's win and coach Quin Snyder was impressed with his club's unselfish play over the final 24 minutes. "We passed the ball. That's who we are," Snyder told reporters afterward. "If we start playing to not make mistakes and the ball stops moving, we'll struggle offensively. It's paramount for us to have the movement and have the passing." Point guard Raul Neto made his first start of the season with Rubio out and scored 10 points for the second straight game - the first coming on Monday against Milwaukee when Rubio departed before the game was five minutes old.
1. The Lakers recorded a 90-83 home triumph on Nov. 23 for just their second victory in the past 13 meetings with the Jazz.
2. Utah SF Joe Ingles was 4-of-8 from 3-point range against Orlando after being just 4-of-22 over the previous six games.
3. Los Angeles PG Lonzo Ball has scored five or fewer points in three of the past five games and has 21 and 17 in the other two.
PREDICTION: Jazz 112, Lakers 104 Bet Now
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