Lakers-Jazz Preview

The Associated Press

Though his team lost again, Pau Gasol was pleased by how the Los Angeles Lakers played on Christmas. Now it's uncertain if he'll be around to help them build on the performance.

The Lakers may have had some extra motivation in their last game, facing the defending champions on national television, but Gasol hopes they bring a similar effort against the Western Conference-worst Utah Jazz on Friday night in Salt Lake City.

Even if he can't be a part of it.

The veteran 7-footer is listed as day-to-day and reportedly did not travel with the team to Utah due to an upper respiratory infection which caused him to miss a game last week. The Lakers return home to face Philadelphia on Sunday.

Gasol seemed to be doing fine on Christmas, when he had 13 points and 13 rebounds in 29 minutes of a 101-95 loss to Miami.

The Lakers (13-16) led the two-time reigning NBA champs by 10 points and never trailed by double digits despite playing without Kobe Bryant (knee) or point guards Steve Nash (back) and Steve Blake (elbow).

It was a significantly better performance than the previous two games for the Lakers, who lost 102-83 at Golden State on Saturday and 117-90 at Phoenix two nights later.

Gasol sat out Saturday with the illness and played a season-low 20 minutes Monday.

"We need to just build on the same intensity and effort and concentration that we put in (Wednesday) and carry it to the next game and don't fall back into the bad habits of the last two games against Golden State and Phoenix," Gasol said. "We need to really bounce back in Utah. We have a good chance to get a nice road win and that's what we're gonna try to do."

His potential absence, though, could hurt a Los Angeles team which has a league-worst minus-5.0 rebounding margin. Utah is among the worst at minus-2.9 and has been outrebounded in eight of the last nine games.

As Los Angeles tries to avoid a season-high fourth straight loss, the Jazz (8-23) look to halt their worst home losing streak since the 2010-11 season.

The Jazz have dropped four straight home games, but three defeats came to elite teams - Indiana, Portland and San Antonio - while the other came in overtime to Sacramento. They're returning from a 2-3 road swing.

Utah has been struggling offensively, averaging 88.5 points in the last six games on 41.2 percent shooting. The Jazz were better Monday in a 104-94 loss at Memphis to close the trip, shooting 46.7 percent overall and 11 of 24 from 3-point range.

"I thought the effort was there. We're trying," coach Tyrone Corbin said. "We had some lulls in there, but the guys are fighting, and, as a result, we had chances in the ballgame. We just couldn't get over the hump."

Rookie Trey Burke had 18 points after totaling five in the previous two losses on the trip, compared to 50 in the two wins.

Gordon Hayward came up one assist shy of his first career triple-double Monday but struggled with his shot on the trip, hitting 32.8 percent from the field while averaging 12.2 points.

Conversely, the Lakers' Nick Young has been on a tear. He's 19 of 38 from 3-point range over the past six games, averaging 20.8 points.

The Jazz had won four straight over the Lakers before losing the last meeting, 102-84 on Jan. 25 in Los Angeles.