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Lakers roundtable: Salt Lake Tribune's Brian T. Smith breaks down Lakers-Jazz matchup

January 25, 2011 | 11:08 am

The Utah Jazz's four-game losing streak didn't prompt the Lakers to express plenty of concern. In fact, that convinced many of them that could help spark Utah in ending its 16-game losing streak at Staples Center when the two teams square off Tuesday night. After all, the Lakers had lost to the Jazz on the road, 102-96, earlier in the season and they learned last week that a matchup with the Dallas Mavericks was all they needed to end their six-game losing streak.

Salt Lake Tribune's Jazz beat writer Brian T. Smith, however, believes otherwise.

"This right now is the toughest stretch for the Jazz," Smith argued, "and they're probably playing the Lakers at exactly the worst time."

There are plenty of reasons for that, including Utah's recent struggles, the team's admission that chemistry's been lacking and because the Jazz follows its matchup against the defending champs with a back-to-back against Western Conference leader San Antonio.

"It'll be a very interesting matchup," Smith summed up.

Among the topics of interest regarding the Lakers-Jazz matchup

--What's currently ailing the Jazz

--Why Utah has struggled beating the Lakers at Staples Center.

--Whether Coach Jerry Sloan will continue starting rookie Gordon Haywood in place of Andrei Kirilienko, a lineup shift that happened in Utah's road loss Saturday to Philadelphia.

--Who in the Jazz is worried about in the Western Conference.

You can follow more of Smith's work at the Salt Lake Tribune's website and by following him on Twitter.

--Mark Medina

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