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Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)
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Jazz Prepare For Stumbling Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – What once looked like a potential Western Conference Finals preview now seems like a rescue mission for the Los Angeles Lakers who face the Utah Jazz on Wednesday.

Despite both teams sitting atop the Western Conference, the Lakers have lost three-straight, and head into their matchup with the league-leading Jazz short two starters.

The Lakers have been without All-NBA big man Anthony Davis for the last four games while he recovers from an Achilles injury, meanwhile guard Dennis Schroder has missed the team’s last three games in the NBA’s COVID-19 tracing protocol.

Jazz Bounce Back After Clippers Loss

The Jazz had an impressive showing against the Charlotte Hornets in a 132-110 victory on Monday night.

The team bounced back after snapping their nine-game win streak to the Los Angeles Clippers last week by hitting a franchise-record 28 threes, 15 of which came in the final 19 minutes of the game.

The Jazz trailed by 11 points with seven minutes remaining in the third quarter but strung together a 62-29 run to close the game powered by the team’s bench. Three reserves for the Jazz scored at least 20 points, marking the first time in franchise history three second-unit players had reached that mark in the same game.

The team’s bench set an NBA record by canning 19 three-pointers, led by Georges Niang and Joe Ingles who knocked down seven each. Jordan Clarkson added five deep balls in the Jazz victory.

The Jazz have now won 21 of their last 23 games dating back to January 8, and lead the Lakers for the top seed in the Western Conference by 3.5 games.

Lakers Need To Reverse Course

As the Jazz stranglehold on the West continues to tighten, the Lakers must find a way to stem their recent string of losses.

In addition to losing three straight, the Lakers have lost four of their last five as the team limps towards the end of the first half of the regular season.

Though Los Angeles owns the best defensive rating in the NBA for the season, their rating over the last five games has dropped to 16th, while their offensive rating has plummeted to 25th.

During the stretch, the Lakers are shooting 30 percent from the three-point line, and for the season, average just 11 made threes per game.

Superstar LeBron James discussed the Lakers upcoming challenge when they travel to Utah.

“Utah has been playing extremely well this year,” James said after Monday night’s overtime loss to the Washington Wizards. “They’ve been moving the ball, sharing the ball — that ball is popping.”

The Jazz lead the NBA in three-pointers made per game at 16.8 and rank third in the league by connecting on 39.7 percent of their attempts.

James is averaging 25.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 8.1 assists in his 18th year in the NBA.

Broadcast

The Jazz and Lakers will tip-off at 8 pm MT. The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN.

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