When the Utah Jazz (42-24 SU, 31-33-2 ATS) got ready to embark on the restart and the seeding games, a lot of the talk among BetAnySports customers centered around what might happen out of the chilly relationship between All-Stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell. And the truth is, Mitchell had a beef, since Gobert was so cavalier about the coronavirus and careless about interaction, which became a danger when he contracted COVID-19 and transmitted it to Mitchell.
There was also a concern about how Mike Conley might come together with his teammates, since he had come from a situation where he spent over a decade playing with others. Ultimately that might not be a problem, because Conley is a pro and can probably adapt to anything.
What head coach Quin Snyder has been looking for is a way to put the right combinations together in the process of filling the void that was created by the injury to Bojan Bogdanovic, who was averaging 20 points a game.
All signs seemed to point to this team using the eight games leading to the playoffs as an adjustment period of sorts.
This team is being designed to play more up-tempo, which is bound to make things awkward when they are slowed down. And that was the case against Oklahoma City, who pretty much beat them pillar to post.
Utah trailed by as many as 29 points on Saturday, and lost 110-94.
The cliches are flying. And Conley, who's been dealing with the press for a long time, spoke a company line, as he spoke about "coming out with a better mindset defensively and more aggression and more competing top to bottom."
Now the Jazz have to play against a Los Angeles Lakers team that handed their heads to them by a 25-point margin in the last meeting (back in December) and currently ranks third in the league in Defensive Efficiency - AND is coming off a 15-point loss to the defending champion Toronto Raptors.
It's likely that the Lakers will shoot better than the 35.4% they managed against the Raptors. So it will be incumbent upon Utah to hit the long-range shots. They are better than 37% for the season, but just 24.6% from beyond the arc during the first two seeding games.
Game time is 9:05 PM ET at the Visa Athletic Center at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando. It's on TNT.
At BetAnySports, the Lakers are 6.5-point favorites in the game, with a total of 216 points posted.
Utah did well from long distance when facing the Lakers last time out, hitting 14 triples. Yet look at the margin. So it's just a bad matchup for them.
Mitchell wore a bullet-proof vest to the last game, and it had the names of black people who were killed by police. He did this wearing shoes from Nike, which embraces human rights enemy China and has used slave labor.
Against OKC, Mitchell made five of 15 shots and missed all four of his attempts from downtown, so maybe he needs to shift his focus to something else.
But then, everybody was cold-shooting. Georgu Niang should not be taking more three-pointers than anyone on the club. But he did just that against the Thunder.
I'm not sure I see any scenario where the Lakers don't create enough margin here.
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