Utah At L.A. Lakers
When: 10:30 PM
ET, Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles Lakers icon Kobe Bryant plays the final contest of a
brilliant 20-year career when the Lakers close the season against the
visiting Utah Jazz on Wednesday. The 37-year-old Bryant will play as
many minutes as he can during the regular-season finale as Los Angeles
attempts to end a six-game losing streak.
Bryant has experienced a ton of emotions during his final season and he told USA Today he's fine with how everything has worked out. "I'm not sad at all. I left no stone unturned," Bryant said. "I gave everything to the game for 20 years in the NBA and more before that. So I feel very thankful to be able to play this game this long." Bryant's final game is highly important for Utah, which will make the playoffs if it beats the Lakers and the Houston Rockets lose to the Sacramento Kings. "We talked about the last 20 games or so to try to be in a playoff race and we find ourselves in this position," Jazz coach Quin Snyder told reporters after Monday's 101-92 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. "... This is a good experience for us. It hurts right now."
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2, ROOT (Utah), TWC SportsNet (Los Angeles)
ABOUT THE JAZZ (40-41): Starting center Rudy Gobert is an unlikely participant after spraining his right ankle in Monday's loss. Losing the ace shot blocker at the same time that power forward Derrick Favors (knee) isn't able to play at his typical level is a double blow for Utah. "That's also been kind of the story of our season - has been guys going down, guys getting hurt, banged up," small forward Gordon Hayward told reporters. "I don’t know exactly what happened (to Gobert), but it sucks. It sucks to have a teammate go down, especially one of your anchors defensively."
ABOUT THE LAKERS (16-65): The highly competitive Bryant will see if he has one more high-scoring game in a body that is sore and banged up. Los Angeles coach Byron Scott has indicated Bryant will play at least 37 minutes and it is pretty much a safe bet that Bryant's teammates will be feeding him the ball a lot with so much on the line for the Jazz. "For me, it's coming out in front of the fans and competing hard, and playing against Utah and them not taking it easy at all," Bryant told reporters. "To me, that is the greatest form of competition. That's the best last game to have - a very competitive one, a physical one. That's the way basketball should be."
1. The Jazz are 3-0 against the Lakers this season with the average winning margin being 29 points, topped by a 123-75 drubbing on March 28.
2. Bryant is averaging five points on 3-of-19 shooting in two games against Utah this season.
3. Utah SG Rodney Hood scored 30 first-half points and made 8-of-9 3-pointers in the recent 48-point win that matched for worst loss in Lakers' history.
PREDICTION: Jazz 116, Lakers 101
Stats and Records
L.A. Lakers Off vs
97.3 Points For
95.8 Points Against