Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Lakers Preview and Pick – Point Spread

Utah Jazz (12-8 11-9 ATS) vs. L.A. Lakers (16-3 9-10 ATS) STAPLES Center, Los Angeles, CA 10:30 PM EST Wednesday December 9, 2009 on Fox Sports West
by Jason Green at Predictem.com

Point Spread: Jazz +10 / Lakers -10
Over/Under: 206

Tonight the red-hot L.A. Lakers host the Utah Jazz. I mentioned red-hot for the Lakers, but that might be an understatement, as they have won 9 straight and lead the Pacific Division by 2.5 games over the Phoenix Suns. The Jazz are also playing well, as they are coming off a win, are 8-2 in their last 10 games, and are in 2nd place in the tough Northwest Division trailing the Denver Nuggets by 3 games.

The Lakers have enjoyed being at home for most of the last month, but after Friday they play 19 of their next 28 games on the road. The Lakers have not lost since Pau Gasol came back from his hamstring injury. The Lakers will have their hands full down low tonight facing the Western Conference Player of the Week Carlos Boozer, who last week averaged averaging 22.8 ppg and 12 rpg in 4 games.

Utah goes into this game a little banged up, as they have 5 players that are listed as day to day, while the Lakers are relatively healthy. Even though Andrei Kirilenko (12.4 ppg)is day-to-day he will not travel with the Jazz to La La Land and that will hurt the Jazz on D.

This season the Lakers are a NBA best 13-2 at home and the Jazz are only 3-5 on the road.

In their last game the Jazz had a solid 104-101 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night. Carlos Boozer was the high scorer in that game going for 27 points on 10/18 shooting. For the game the Jazz were on fire shooting 42/79 from the floor for a FG% of 53.2%. On D the Jazz allowed the Spurs to shoot 34/70 from the field for a FG% of 48.6%.

The Lakers last game was an impressive 108-88 win on Sunday over the Phoenix Suns. Kobe was the high scorer in the game going for 26 points on 9/16 shooting. For the game the Lakers shot 36/81 for a FG% of 46.9%. On defense the Lakers allowed the Suns to shoot 37/83 for a FG% of 44.6%.

This season the Lakers rank 5th in scoring (104.6 ppg) and the Jazz rank 12th (101.4 ppg). On defense the Lakers rank a respectable 8th in points allowed (96.3 ppg) and the Jazz rank 13th (98.1 ppg). Both teams are legit on the boards, as the Jazz have a rebounding differential of +2.0 rpg and the Lakers are at +1.1 rpg.

Pau Gasol (17.8 ppg) has been great since coming back and he should have a big game tonight, as he will draw Boozer out of the lane and drain the jumper and he can also take him to the hoop with his quickness.

Boozer has been a monster in the last week, but he will not tonight since Andrew Bynum will be in the lane waiting for him. Bynum, who is just shy of averaging a double-double (18.2 ppg 9.8 rpg), will have a big game scoring and rebounding since Jazz C Mehmet Okur is not very physical and is not a great interior defender.

The Lakers have so many weapons that the Jazz will not be able to stop them tonight. I mean Lamar Odom is averaging around 8 points and 8 boards per game and in the win over Phoenix he blew up for 26 points and grabbed 15 boards.

Kobe will get his points tonight, but the Jazz have to keep the other Lakers from having a big scoring game. Don’t look for that to happen tonight since the Lakers have many scoring options in Gasol, Bynum, Odom, and Ron Artest (12.4 ppg).

One match up that favors the Jazz at the PG position with Deron Williams (18.9 ppg) facing Derek Fisher. Williams is very quick and can easily take Fisher off the dribble, but the other Lakers will help him out. However, Williams may have a big game.

On the injury front SF Andrei Kirilenko, PG Ronnie Price PG, SG Kyle Korver, PG Deron Williams, and SF C.J. Miles are all day-to-day for the Jazz and C D.J. Mbenga is day-to-day for the Lakers.

Jason’s Pick: Even though I definitely think the Lakers will sin this game they are tough to call ATS, as they are only 9-10 this season ATS. Utah also tends to play the Lakers tough so even though the Lakers will come out on top in this game I would take the Jazz and the points.