Lakers Turn Frigid In Loss To Jazz At Honda Center In Anaheim

The Lakers are 9-5 all-time against the Utah Jazz in the preseason, including two straight losses this preseason.

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Lakers Lose To Utah Jazz, 82-74 In Anaheim

Anaheim, CA (Sports Network) - Al Jefferson scored 13 points and pulled down eight rebounds, leading Utah to an 82-74 victory over the Lakers in preseason action.

C.J. Miles added a game-high 14 points, while Andrei Kirilenko had 11 points for the Jazz, who are a perfect 7-0 in preseason play. Deron Williams posted 10 points and five assists in the victory.

Shannon Brown and Matt Barnes scored 13 points apiece for the Lakers, who have won just twice in six exhibition games. Pau Gasol added 11 points and eight rebounds, while Steve Blake had 10 points in defeat.

Kobe Bryant scored seven points in 23 minutes for Los Angeles.

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Lakers Vs. Jazz, Probable Lineups & Injury Report: Deron Williams Doubtful

As the Los Angeles Lakers are set to host the Utah Jazz at the Honda Center in Anaheim tonight, here is a look at the probable starters and injury reports for both clubs:

Jazz

Point Guard: Earl Watson

Shooting Guard: Raja Bell

Small Forward: Andrei Kirilenko

Power Forward: Paul Millsap

Center: Al Jefferson

Deron Williams, who missed both games at Staples Center over the weekend with a strained right calf, is listed as doubtful for tonight's game, as are Francisco Elson (right hamstring) and Jeremy Evans (flu-like symptoms). Mehmet Okur is out with a left achilles injury.

Lakers

Point Guard: Derek Fisher

Shooting Guard: Kobe Bryant

Small Forward: Ron Artest

Power Forward: Lamar Odom

Center: Pau Gasol

The Lakers have had the same starting lineup for each of the first five games of the preseason. Sasha Vujacic is still out with a concussion, and Derrick Caracter is out tonight with back spasms. Luke Walton returned to practice for the first time on Monday, but is still out for tonight's game with a right hamstring strain.

For more Lakers news and analysis, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.

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Lakers Offense Poised To Improve This Season

As the Lakers look to capture their third straight NBA title, our thoughts turn to offense. The Lakers ranked third in the NBA in offensive rating in both the 2007-2008 and 2008-2009 seasons, but fell to 11th last season, just above average:

Year Pts Per 100 Possessions NBA Rank
2007-2008 113.0 3rd
2008-2009 112.8 3rd
2009-2010 108.8 11th
per Basketball-Reference.com

With that offensive decline in mind, general manager Mitch Kupchak assembled his 2010-2011 roster looking to improve the club's offensive efficiency. At the outstanding Lakers blog Silver Screen and Roll, C.A. Clark analyzed the team's offensive outlook this season:

This off-season, the front office made the following edict abundantly clear:  The Bench Mob is dead.  Gone is Jordan Farmar, in many ways the ring-leader of both the good and bad versions of the Mob.  Brought in are three veteran players, only one of which (Matt Barnes) could even come close to being considered "Bench Mob" personnel.  Now, instead of young kids littering the 2nd unit, the Lakers go 10 deep with only one member of each unit under the age of 30.  Maturity is the new rule.  Is it a bit dangerous?  Yes, because the Lakers are a bit short on the qualities (athleticism, speed) that youth brings to the table.  But the message is clear; the expectation of this team is consistency.  Not consistency in play (although that would be an added benefit), but consistency in ideology.

Clark further summarized that the offensive should improve this season:

The offseason changes made by the front office had offense in mind much more so than defense, and rightfully so.  Considering their talent, the offense (in the regular season at least) was just short of embarassing.  There is no way a team as good as the Lakers should have been just above average in the league.  Now, with both the personnel and (apparently) the mentality to perform better, the offense should be much improved.  A lot of the Lakers potential on offense hinges on return of outside shooting touch for the starting perimeter players.  If the team can re-discover the outside touch (they ranked 24th overall last season), it will provide them the necessary space to make the Triangle lethal again.

For more Lakers news and analysis, be sure to read Silver Screen and Roll.

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Lakers Host Utah Jazz In Preseason Affair At Honda Center In Anaheim

The Los Angeles Lakers open their final week of the preseason tonight, traveling to Honda Center in Anaheim to face the Utah Jazz, for the second time in three days. The Lakers have taken the regular season series from the Jazz in each of the last four seasons, winning 10 of 14 games. In addition, the Lakers have eliminated Utah from the playoffs in each of the last three years.

Utah defeated the Lakers on Sunday in the Staples Center Shootout, 99-94, behind a 26-point effort by Jazz rookie Gordon Hayward. The Lakers built an 11-point third quarter lead, and Kobe Bryant scored 19 points in the quarter on 7-of-8 shooting. Pau Gasol had 28 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and four blocks in the loss.

The Lakers are 9-4 all-time against the Jazz in the preseason.

This is the 12th straight year that Anaheim has hosted at least one Laker preseason game. The Lakers have played 17 preseason games in Anaheim dating back to 1979, and are 8-8 in those contests. Strangely, there are no records for the Lakers' preseason game against the Denver Nuggets from October 6, 1980; perhaps the official scorer was in Los Angeles watching the Dodgers lose a one-game playoff to the Houston Astros to lose the National League West.

Tonight's game against the Jazz is one of three local travel games this week for the Lakers in southern California. They also play the Golden State Warriors in San Diego on Wednesday night, followed by their final preseason effort on Friday in Ontario, also against the Warriors.

Tonight's 7 p.m. game will be televised on KCAL Channel 9.

For more Lakers news and analysis, be sure to read the SB Nation blog Silver Screen and Roll.

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