Jordan’s NBA Picks: 53-34
Utah (49-30 SU & 42-35 ATS) at Lakers (36-44 SU & 32-46 ATS)
Sunday, 9:30 PM EST, NBATV
Free NBA Pick: Jazz ATS
Best Line Offered: Pinnacle
Even coming off an impressive win over the Clippers, the Lakers’ G-League squad will likely once again be taking the court tonight. Since LA has fallen out of the playoff picture, they’re entire organization should be focused on losing game. After their win Friday, they should get back to that with the Jazz coming to town.
At this point in the season, injuries and guys with “injuries,’ are two of the things you have to keep an eye out for when handicapping late-season NBA. The Jazz have been hit with some injuries lately, but the Lakers are without a doubt trying to lose this game with their injury report.
Of course, LeBron James is already out for the season, but Kyle Kuzma has also already been ruled out and it looks like Reggie Bullock could be headed for the bench tonight as well. Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram, and Lonzo Ball have long been ruled out for the season.
The situation for Utah is a bit different. Derrick Favors is nursing back spasms, which is something that has plagued him during his career. Hopefully the Jazz are just being cautious with their big man, because he too has been ruled out yet again Sunday.
We also have a Jazz team that is thin on guards. After returning to play Friday night, Ricky Rubio left the game early after aggravating his foot and his status, along with Raul Neto’s and Kyle Korver’s are up in the air.
None of these guys are needed though to stomp all over the Lakers, so with the playoffs fast approaching, don’t be surprised if all these guys ride the pine on Sunday.
The Sharp Pick
When it comes to handicapping this game, the spread has already been ticking upward since it opened at -11 ½ in favor of the Jazz. At least two shops have moved the line to -12 and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the rest of the shops take that cue.
The Jazz have been playing some excellent ball as of late and their faster pace has correlated with an increase in offensive efficiency. That will do them a lot of good in the playoffs, but tonight it will also put a ton of pressure on a Lakers defense that can’t stop anyone.
Despite losing their first meeting to the Lakers this eason when they were really struggling out of the gate, the Jazz have pummeled LA in their latest two meetings. Combine that with all the Laker stars sitting this one out for LA and they have no chance of covering.
LA’s win over the Clippers was somewhat flukish, because the Clippers don’t play much defense. That will not be the case here with the Jazz. I suspect the Lakers could be held to less than 100 points in a blowout win for Utah.
Final Score Prediction: Jazz 115 – Lakers 100