The daily preview muscles into the paint with NBA tips for a showdown between the rampaging Utah Jazz and LeBron’s undermanned LA Lakers.

NBA Tips – Utah Jazz V Los Angeles Lakers

14:00 (AEDT), Thu 25th Feb @ Vivint Smart Home Arena

History: Played 217: Lakers 127 V Jazz 90

Last meeting: August 3, 2020: Lakers 116 d Jazz 108 at The Arena

Final Thoughts: In a potential Western Conference Finals preview, Utah Jazz and LA Lakers lock horns for the first time this season.

Runaway leaders the Jazz have surged to a 25-6 record – easily the best in the NBA. They have lost just two of their last 23 games.

After splitting their consecutive games against fellow West heavyweights the Clippers – winning the first 114-96 and losing the second 116-112 – the Jazz kicked off this week by pummelling the Hornets 132-110.

Each of Utah’s last 16 wins came by margins of 11 points or more.

Cornerstone duo Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert were voted into the NBA All-Star Game – a reflection of their stellar campaigns. Mike Conley, pivotal to the Jazz’s success, was an unlucky omission.

The Lakers have slipped to 22-10 after losing four of their last five. With Anthony Davis sidelined, the defending champs have lost their last three to the Nets (109-98), Heat (96-94) and Wizards (127-124 in OT). Denis Schroder’s recent absence has also been keenly felt.

LeBron James continues to pump out big minutes (35 per game) and big numbers (25.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 8.1 assists per game) but he needs AD and co. back on deck.

The Lakers won all three games against the Jazz last season by eight points or more. Davis went off for 42 points and 12 rebounds in a 116-108 victory during the Orlando seeding games.

Utah are 14-2 at home and have covered in 23 of their 31 games. The Lakers are a muscular 13-3 on the road but are just 14-18 ATS overall.

The Lakers are being afforded a big start here, but it’s hard to see them running the red-hot Jazz close with this under-strength line-up.

Tip: Handicap – Jazz -8.5 @ $1.90

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