The Jazz visit the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday afternoon, but the outcome of the game will be the second-most important result for Utah.
The team is awaiting word on an MRI on All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell‘s sprained right ankle.
Mitchell was hurt Friday night early in the second half of the Jazz’s 119-111 victory over the Indiana Pacers in Salt Lake City.
X-rays were negative, but the next step was a scan of the ankle.
“We hope there’s nothing serious, but they’re in the process of doing everything they can to assess that,” Jazz coach Quin Snyder said after his team rallied for the victory without its top scorer.
Utah center Rudy Gobert, who finished with 13 points and 23 rebounds against the Pacers, said, “Unfortunately, we lost Donovan. Hopefully, it’s not something bad. But I’m proud of the way we kept fighting through the game.”
The Jazz won for the fourth time in five games as they prepare for back-to-back road games against the Lakers. The teams will meet again Monday.
Los Angeles, playing without stars LeBron James (ankle) and Anthony Davis (calf), has alternated wins and losses over the past 10 games.
The first matchup of the teams this season resulted in a Jazz 114-89 blowout win Feb. 24 in Salt Lake City.
The Lakers are coming off a 121-113 home loss to the Boston Celtics on Thursday, the first game for L.A. with fans in the stands this season.
“I did hear them and I did see them,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “I know we’re not where we want to be at full capacity, but it was great to have our fans back watching us and cheering us on. It just gave us a different level of energy and juice, and hopefully it continues to grow.”
The Lakers have are 6-8 since James got hurt on March 20. Davis has been sidelined since sustaining his injury on Feb. 14.
The good news for Los Angeles is that Davis was cleared for full-contact practice. The team is hopeful he can rejoin the lineup before the end of the month, with James returning soon after.
“We got champions on the roster, and we got some hard, hard-playing players that really want it,” Lakers swingman Kyle Kuzma said of competing without the team’s two superstars. “So, I think we’ve done a great job in the past few games of really figuring out how to win games together, figuring out how to play with one another and figuring out how to get wins.”
Before Mitchell’s injury, the Jazz were back at full strength Friday, with Royce O’Neale (rest), Joe Ingles (knee) and Jordan Clarkson (ankle) all returning to the lineup after sitting out the team’s Tuesday win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Jazz needed them, as they trailed Indiana 17 points in the second quarter. However, Utah surged past the Pacers in the fourth to improve its league-best home record to 26-3.
The Jazz, who are 16-11 outside of Utah, have not won a road game against the Lakers since April 2018.
–Field Level Media