Lakers-Jazz Preview

Already struggling to control the glass, the Utah Jazz suffered another significant hit to their frontcourt when Trevor Booker took a blow to the head.

Now two of their top three rebounders could be sidelined against the woeful Los Angeles Lakers in Salt Lake City on Saturday night.

The Jazz (17-22) own a plus-1.3 rebounding margin on the season, but have posted a minus-6.7 mark in the last six games of a 2-5 stretch. They've been dominated on the boards by a 54-38 margin each time in dropping their last two.

Derrick Favors, second on the club with 8.6 rebounds per game, could miss a 13th straight due to back spasms. Booker is expected to also be out Saturday after being diagnosed with a concussion following an elbow from DeMarcus Cousins in Thursday's 103-101 home loss to Sacramento.

Booker is averaging 6.6 boards on the season.

That should leave more minutes for Trey Lyles, who's totaled 35 points but just five rebounds in his last two games. The rookie scored a season-high 19 to help Utah rally from an 18-point deficit against the Kings before Rudy Gay hit the winning jumper with 0.6 seconds left.

Gordon Hayward missed all nine of his shots in the first half before going 4 for 8 in the final two quarters. He was 13 for 16 from the free-throw line overall.

"I think it takes a lot of resolve and a lot of grit (to come back) with Book out, basically every player on our roster in foul trouble except Gordon, and Gordon having a very difficult night from the field," coach Quin Snyder said.

Hayward appears to be facing a prime opportunity to get back on track. He's averaged 24.5 points and 50.7 percent shooting in his last four against the Lakers (9-32).

The forward led the way with 25 points and Utah held Los Angeles to 32.6 percent from the field - 3 for 21 from 3-point range - in Sunday's 86-74 win at Staples Center.

Kobe Bryant did not play due to a strained right Achilles. He's since totaled 15 points on 7-of-26 shooting in two games.

The retiring Bryant made his final appearance at Oracle Arena in Thursday's 116-98 loss at Golden State. He's yet to miss a game when it has been his last time playing in that city, though that won't be the case Saturday with the Lakers returning to Salt Lake on March 28.

"I was really stiff (Thursday) but I felt like it was the right thing to do to go back out and try to enjoy it one more time," Bryant said. "It was sore but it didn't lock up on me."

Los Angeles, loser of four of five, seems unlikely to provide Utah with much of a challenge on the boards as it ranks near the bottom of the league with a minus-4.2 rebounding margin.

Jordan Clarkson scored a team-high 22 points and Lou Williams added 21 against the Warriors. Clarkson has averaging 18.2 in his last six games while Williams has scored 23.3 in his past eight.

The Lakers have won in two of their past three visits to Utah.


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