The Los Angeles Lakers will play their third game in three nights on Tuesday when they play the Utah Jazz. They will do it needing a win, if for no other reason than their sanity, against a team that will be playing its first game of the season.
After blowing an 11-point lead at home against the Chicago Bulls on opening day, they followed that up with a nine-point loss to the Sacramento Kings in which they hit just 1 of 16 3-pointers. The Lakers are clearly missing center Andrew Bynum, who has yet to make an appearance while serving a four-game suspension.
In Bynum's place has mostly been Josh McRoberts. The fourth-year player has been about as good as you'd expect him to be, averaging 4.0 points and 6.5 rebounds in 28.0 minutes per game, while contributing a handful of assists. Bynum averaged 11.3 points and 9.5 rebounds in nearly identical time last year.
In order to avoid their first 0-3 start in 33 years, the Lakers will have to beat the best rested team in the NBA. The Jazz will be the final team to make their debut in the lockout-shortened season.
It will be a bit of a new-look Jazz team, too, which will be opening a season without Jerry Sloan for the first time since 1987. They are led by 20-year-old Derrick Favors -- who was acquired in the Deron Williams trade -- and Al Jefferson, who averaged 18.6 points and 9.7 rebounds last year.