The Lakers will look for their first win of the season when they host the Utah Jazz at the Staples Center on Friday.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis faced the Clippers in the first game. Despite missing Paul George, the Clippers recorded a 112-102 victory. It was a close game for the most part, but the Lakers faltered late on to suffer the loss. Kawhi Leonard starred for the Clippers, and the Lakers could do little to stop him. James had 18 points, 8 assists, and 9 rebounds. Davis had 25 points and 10 rebounds, and Danny Green added 28, but it was not enough.
The major problem for the Lakers was their bench. The Clippers outscored the Lakers 60-19 in terms of the bench points. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored zero points in 27 minutes off the bench. The likes of Jared Dudley and Quinn Cook were tasked with the second unit, but they failed to deliver. The Lakers missed Kyle Kuzma through injury, and his presence will be a huge boost. Coach Frank Vogel needs someone to take the burden off James and Davis, and Kuzma could be that man.
Rajon Rondo also missed the game, which meant that James took over the point guard duties. Avery Bradley scored just 8 points in his first start for the Lakers. The Clippers are a very tough outfit to face, and the Lakers will hope to fare better against weaker opposition on paper. They shot 43.5% against the Clippers, and a better shooting night will be hugely helpful against the Jazz.
As for the Jazz, they got the opening win, unlike the Lakers. They hosted the Oklahoma City Thunder and beat them 100-95. Donovan Mitchell scored 32 points for Utah to lead his side to victory. He also had 12 rebounds, and his run in the fourth quarter was hugely influential in the win. Bojan Bogdanovic scored 16 points for the Jazz in his first game for the franchise. As expected, it was the defensive side where Utah shined the brightest.
Led by Rudy Gobert, they limited the Thunder to under 100 points. Oklahoma shot just 38.6% per cent from the field. The rebounds were even, and the Jazz did a great job on the perimeter to restrict the Thunder. Mike Conley Jr. underwhelmed to a certain extent in his debut for the Jazz.
Conley scored just 5 points in the game, but he was happy to let Mitchell carry on. Hopefully, for coach Quin Snyder, he will pick up the load in the coming games. Emmanuel Mudiay and Joe Ingles contributed 19 points off the bench in some useful minutes.
Los Angeles Lakers vs Utah Jazz Prediction
The Lakers slipped up in the opening game, but they should calm the nerves with a win against Utah. The Jazz are strong defensively, and the Lakers will have to work for the win. It will be a low-scoring game relatively, and the total points should be Under 226.5.