Jazz-Lakers Preview

The Associated PressJanuary 3, 2014

The last-place Utah Jazz continued their recent success against the Los Angeles Lakers last week by taking advantage of a depleted team.

The Lakers will be even more short-handed for Friday night's rematch as they attempt to avoid their longest losing streak in seven seasons.

Utah (11-24) earned its fifth win in the last six meetings with the Lakers on Derrick Favors' putback dunk with 2.1 seconds left last Friday. The 105-103 victory was also among the Jazz's seven in the last 12 games.

Utah once again won't have to face Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Steve Blake in this game. Pau Gasol is expected play after sitting out last week's matchup because of a respiratory infection, but the Lakers likely won't have two players who were in that game.

Jordan Farmar is expected to miss the next month after tearing his left hamstring for the second time this season, and Xavier Henry is out for at least a week because of an ailing right knee. Kendall Marshall, signed out of the D-League on Dec. 20, remains the only healthy point guard.

Los Angeles (13-19) was beaten 94-79 by the team with the worst record in the NBA, Milwaukee, on Tuesday. Nick Young had 25 points and Gasol matched that in his return from illness, but Marshall was the only other player in double figures during a 35.8 percent shooting performance.

"We are down at the bottom," said coach Mike D'Antoni, who used his eighth different starting lineup in as many games and 17th in 32 contests. ''The injuries have torn everybody up, but we have to band together and figure it out. I thought Pau played hard, though he was rusty at first. He didn't look good in the first quarter, but then he picked it up."

The Jazz will try to take down the Lakers again and earn a season-high third consecutive win. Utah topped Milwaukee 96-87 on Thursday, and Favors scored seven of his 21 points in the final 2:03.

"We're getting better each and every game. We're still learning to play together. The chemistry is coming along," said rookie point guard Trey Burke, who was one of six Utah players to score in double figures.

The Jazz, who have dropped their last two road games after winning five of eight, try to send the Lakers to their first seven-game skid since March 2-15, 2007.

Having dropped three straight at home, Los Angeles is also on the verge of its longest losing streak at Staples Center since a five-gamer Jan. 26-Feb. 21, 2007.

"Everything is far from ideal right now, but we can't dwell on it," Gasol said. "It is what it is, and we have to make the best out of it. The one thing we can control is bringing effort and energy."

Gordon Hayward led Utah with 24 points against Los Angeles last week but scored nine in each of his two subsequent games before putting up 22 against Milwaukee.

Young led the Lakers with 21 points in last week's matchup and is averaging 22.3 in his last seven games.