10/28 Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Lakers: Keys to the Game

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 10: Ricky Rubio (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 10: Ricky Rubio (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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Key #2 – Run the Lakers Ragged

The Lakers have plenty of young and promising talent, but they are very much lacking in experience. With that being the case, playing on the back end of a back-to-back will be even harder for them than it would be for an ordinary team. The Jazz, meanwhile, will be coming into Saturday’s contest well-rested, with two full days off between games.

Therefore, while it isn’t exactly in the Jazz’s DNA to push the tempo and run up and down the floor (as I mentioned earlier, they are second to the last in the league in pace), they’ll still absolutely need to attack this young and likely fatigued Lakers team relentlessly. That will include not only pushing the tempo on offense to force LA to struggle to keep up at the high altitude of Salt Lake City, but also locking in on defense and forcing them to grind and work for every basket they get.

Scoring in transition is one of the Lakers’ foremost strengths as they are currently third in the league in fast break points at 17.8 per game. Surprisingly, despite Utah’s blatant turnover issues so far this season, they’re actually only giving up 9.2 fast break points per contest, good for twelfth in the league. Their opponent points off of turnovers figure is significant uglier, but we won’t go back into that for now.

The point is, Utah’s done a decent job with transition defense even with an obscene amount of turnovers. Therefore, as they face a tired Lakers team, it will be crucial that they continue that trend and prevent LA from getting any easy looks off of fast breaks. If they’re able to run them ragged offensively and wear them down defensively, the Jazz should very well be able to right the ship and log a third straight home victory.