NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, April 14th (All times Eastern)
Los Angeles Lakers (25-55) at Utah Jazz (24-56), 9 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - While there are still several seeding battles taking place with the NBA's playoff teams, Monday night's contest at EnergySolutions Arena will be a battle of a different kind.
At stake is last place in the Western Conference when the Utah Jazz host the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Lakers are a game better than the Jazz, but both teams are riding huge losing streaks into Monday's game. LA has dropped seven in a row, while Utah has posted four consecutive losses.
Los Angeles' seventh straight setback came Sunday night when the Memphis Grizzlies entered Staples Center and left with a 102-90 victory to keep them in the driver's seat for the eighth and final playoff spot.
The Lakers were led by Jodie Meeks' 20 points. Wesley Johnson added 15 points and 15 boards for Los Angeles, which finished with a porous 14-27 record at Staples Center.
"Sometime in the third quarter the air went out of us," Lakers head coach Mike D'Antoni said. "They wanted it more than we did. You could see that."
The Lakers missed 16 straight shots during a nine-plus minute span that lasted nearly five minutes into the fourth, and it was a double-digit game the rest of the way.
This has been a dreadful season for the Lakers, who didn't have Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Steve Nash, Chris Kaman, Kent Bazemore or MarShon Brooks on the floor for their franchise-record 55th loss.
The Jazz are 3-20 since the end of February and their fourth consecutive loss came Saturday night in Denver. Utah fell at the Pepsi Center, 101-94.
Gordon Hayward paced Utah with 23 points, while Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors each recorded double-doubles. Kanter had 22 points and 14 rebounds and Favors added 13 points with 10 boards in the Jazz's seventh straight road setback.
Alec Burks (12) and Jeremy Evans (10) rounded out the double-figure scorers for Utah.
Utah led by eight with 2 1/2 minutes left in the third when Denver ended the frame on a 9-2 run to cut the deficit to 65-64 entering the fourth. The Nuggets got their first lead of the game with under seven minutes remaining in the fourth.
"They made shots," said Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin. "They made plays down the stretch and we didn't."
The Jazz close the regular season on Wednesday in Minnesota.
The Jazz have won two of three meetings this season and seven of the last 11 against the Lakers, who have lost three in a row in Salt Lake City.
04/14 10:29:27 ET