Two days after Sunday’s preseason loss to the Utah Jazz, the Lakers head to Anaheim on Tuesday to face the … Utah Jazz.
It’s not uncommon for the Lakers to see a preseason foe twice in a week, actually, and it won’t even be the only time this week it happens since Golden State is slated as Thursday’s (San Diego) and Friday’s (Ontario) opponent.
One major difference in the Utah team L.A. fell to by a count of 99-94 is the return of star point guard Deron Williams, who missed the weekend’s Staples Center Shootout due to a strained right calf. He’ll join Raja Bell, Andrei Kirilenko, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson in Jerry Sloan’s starting line up as the Jazz (6-0) look to stay undefeated in the preseason.
While Jefferson (14 points) and Kirilenko (13) were effective against the Lakers, it was lottery pick Gordon Hayward who came off the bench to really hurt L.A., making 8-of-10 field goals and 10-of-11 free throws to score 26 points. C.J. Miles added 15 off the pine, and Utah outshot the Lakers 50.7 percent to 39.0 percent on the evening.
The bright spot for L.A. was Kobe Bryant’s vintage third quarter performance, in which he made 7-of-8 shots en route to 19 points, making his still-progressing knee very much an afterthought. Pau Gasol added 28 points and nine boards for the Lakers, Lamar Odom grabbed 15 boards and Ron Artest scored 17 points in the first half.
Neither team will throw anything too different out there on Tuesday, but Phil Jackson would like to see a better defensive performance from his team, and continual progress since the regular season is now but one week away.
To watch or listen to the game, tune in at 7 p.m. on KCAL/9 & 710 ESPN radio.