The injury-plagued Utah Jazz are relying on Gordon Hayward to carry a big portion of the scoring load with several key players out and the 26-year-old Butler product is more than fulfilling his end of the deal. Hayward will attempt to extend his streak of 30-point games to four when the improving Jazz visit the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night in a battle of playoff hopefuls.
Utah Jazz vs Los Angeles Lakers
When: 10:30 PM ET, Monday, December 5, 2016
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, ROOT (Utah), Spectrum SportsNet (Los Angeles)
PREDICTION: Jazz 105, Lakers 99
“We talked about this early in the season. We felt like he’d expanded his game,” Utah coach Quin Snyder told reporters of Hayward. “. … He’s able to score in multiple ways. When someone takes something away, he’s able to have another option. The biggest thing Gordon’s been doing is defending and, as a result, he’s getting some easy baskets.” The Jazz will be without point guard and second-leading scorer George Hill for the third straight game due to a toe injury, but the Lakers won’t feel sorry for them with plenty of injury concerns of their own. Second-leading scorer D’Angelo Russell (knee) and fourth-leading point producer Nick Young (calf) are expected to miss the game for Los Angeles. The Lakers have dropped three of four after Saturday’s 103-100 setback against Memphis.
ABOUT THE JAZZ (12-9): In addition to Hill, forward Derrick Favors (knee) and guard Alec Burks (ankle) are out but Utah was happy to have third-leading scorer Rodney Hood back in the lineup for Saturday’s win over Denver. Hood missed one game with a hamstring injury and did not shoot well in his return Saturday (4-for-14) while finishing with 15 points in 28 minutes. Hayward, who is averaging 22.8 points overall, told reporters, “we’ve been able to survive the storm and find ways to win games without some of our top guys. I’m proud of that.”
ABOUT THE LAKERS (10-12): Point guard Jose Calderon is expected to join Russell and Young on the sidelines after suffering a hamstring injury Saturday while forward Larry Nance Jr. (knee) is questionable. Los Angeles will need more from others to stay afloat and reserve guard Louis Williams recorded 40 points in Saturday’s loss to push his team-leading average to 17.5. Small forward Luol Deng has struggled much of the season, shooting just 34.3 percent from the field, but came through with a season-high 18 points against Memphis.
1. The Jazz knocked off the Lakers 96-89 at home on Oct. 28 for their fifth win in the last six meetings.
2. Utah F Trey Lyles is stepping up with Favors out, averaging 13 points and shooting 55.3 percent from the field the last five games.
3. Williams has made at least one free throw in 30 straight games – the longest active streak for a reserve in the league.