Utah Jazz: Jazz try to follow up win over Heat with another one over Lakers

Published: Monday, Feb. 10 2014 8:52 p.m. MST

"So it's a capable team and if they're hitting shots from the perimeter especially, they're difficult."

The Lakers have sorely missed Bryant, their superstar swingman who missed the first 19 games of the season recovering from a torn Achilles that required surgery, then played in just six games before going down with a knee injury that has sidelined him since mid-December.

But despite the proud L.A. franchise's uncharacteristic losing record, Corbin is still wary.

"(Chris) Kaman's back for them and they may get a couple of guys back for our game, so we'll just have to see," he said. "But we have to make sure that whoever they put on the floor that we're ready to compete against them."

Burke agreed that even though the Lakers might seem awfully short-handed, with Pau Gasol, Steve Nash, Steve Blake and other key players missing portions of this season with injuries as well, the Jazz definitely cannot take anything for granted based on their road struggles this season.

"They have a young team; they're still trying to find their identity, still trying to find that one go-to guy without Kobe. It's not surprising," he said of the Lakers' struggles. "But at the same time, they are still an NBA team and they still compete every single night.

"So we've got to go in there (Tuesday) and compete. We can't allow them to get out, and we can't dig ourselves into a hole like we did when we went there a couple of weeks ago."

And veteran forward Richard Jefferson, who continues to provide much-needed leadership for this young Utah team, offered his own perspective of the Lakers' lousy season.

"No one feels sorry for 'em," he said. "There were a lot of years where they were coming into town, packing the arenas, and beating everybody by 30 and then they were leaving.

"No one cares. No one cares about our struggles. No one cares about their struggles. Their job is to go out there and compete, and our job is to go and there and do the same thing."

And get ready for another wild ride on that unpredictable coaster.

EMAIL: rhollis@desnews.com

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