The Los Angeles Lakers come back home December 27 for their third consecutive game to start the season when they host the Utah Jazz. The Lakers are stumbling out of the blocks with two losses but the Jazz will start their season in sunny Los Angeles.
The Lakers first two games are mirror opposites. In their first game against the Chicago Bulls, Laker shooters shot 55 percent from the foul line but in their road game against the Sacramento Kings the Lakers shot 84 percent and hit 16-19 foul shots.
Three-point shooting is another hit and miss after two games for the Lakers. Rookie Andrew Goudelock hit two three-pointers in his first NBA regular season game against the Bulls and then missed his two three-point attempts against the Kings.
What will the Lakers give their fans in their third game of the season? Hopefully a consistent and well thought out game plan that does not rely on Kobe Bryant carrying the load. Bryant has been the leading scorer in the first two Lakers games but when Kobe does the majority of the scoring the Lakers rarely win.
The Lakers need to step up on defense and buy in to Mike Brown's defensive scheme. The season is early but switching from years of running the Triangle Offense to Mike Brown's style will take time. How long will it take? The Lakers only have 64 games to figure this out and it is early but they need to focus on defense.
What can the Lakers do to right the ship against the Jazz in their third game of the season? Jazz head coach Tyrone Corbin is holding off on announcing his starting lineup for the game until shortly before game time but the Lakers match up well against the possible lineup that will hit the court December 27.
The Jazz started Devon Harris, Raja Bell, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Al Jefferson in their last preseason game. Hayward is interchangeable with C.J. Miles but this looks like the lineup that will hit the court December 27 against the Lakers.
Hayward can kill any team if he gets hot from the outside but the Jazz will have to play a perfect game to deny the Lakers their first win of the season. This will be the first test of Mike Brown as a coach. He must win this game against a team the Lakers should beat. Final verdict: Lakers win by 15 points for their first win of the season with a balanced scoring attack and a strong defensive performance.
*Todd Jacobs is a native Southern Californian who has followed the Los Angeles Lakers since the early '70s when Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain led the Lakers to the NBA Finals on a yearly basis.
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