SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Jazz have lost two games in a row since their impressive home win over the Oklahoma City Thunder last Saturday, so tonight's matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers is an important one for them.
On paper, it appears to be a good chance for the struggling squad to get back on track after rough outings in Los Angeles and Phoenix. The teams tip off at 7:10 p.m.
The Jazz (2-3) haven't played since Wednesday, while their opponents, the Lakers (2-3) suffered a setback at Staples Center to the Toronto Raptors on Friday night before traveling to Utah for the second night of a back-to-back set.
"I think it’s important even if you win two games in a row or lose two games in a row to be able to come out and be able to play and be able to win," Jazz center Rudy Gobert said. "It shouldn’t get it in your head."
Gobert admitted after Saturday's shootaround that it was good for Utah to have some time to rest and practice after the embarrassing loss to the Suns.
"Every night is a chance we have," he said. "We had two days to get our mind right, get our body right. We are home, so it's a big game."
Tonight's game begins a stretch that includes eight of nine games at Vivint Arena for the Jazz. Utah hopes to look more like the confident, unified unit that has won both of its home games but has lost all three road games.
"We know the difference between the team we were against OKC and the team we were against Phoenix. We worked on it," Gobert said. "We’re still learning. I’m very confident. We’ve got a lot of guys that made this team better. That’s the most important."
Tonight's game also marks the college homecoming for Lakers rookie Kyle Kuzma. The 22-year-old played the past three seasons at the University of Utah. Picked 27th overall, the power forward has been impressive in the NBA so far, averaging 14.6 points and 5.2 rebounds.
"He’s a heckuva player," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said.
Snyder credited Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak and his staff for their work with Kuzma.
"I think the thing that stands out when you see a skilled player is there’s toughness too — toughness mentally, his willingness to take big shots and just confidence," Snyder said. "That’s a credit to the coaches he’s had, too, that pushed him and allowed him to play and make plays."