The Los Angeles Lakers continued their strong start to the preseason, rallying from behind in the fourth quarter to defeat the Phoenix Suns 112-107.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis saw their first action since the NBA Finals, combining for 21 points in first-half action before sitting the rest of the game. Head coach Frank Vogel gave fans a possible glimpse of the Opening Night starting lineup as Dennis Schroder, Kyle Kuzma and Marc Gasol shared the floor with James and Davis.
Seeing Schroder next to James was an interesting look as the German guard was mostly responsible for bringing the ball down the court and initiating the offense. This allowed James to get to his spots on the floor, where he found success with his turnaround jumper.
Schroder handled more of the offensive duties in the third quarter, but tweaked his ankle on defense. He remained in the game for a couple of more minutes before taking a foul to get back on the bench for the rest of the night.
Vogel said postgame Schroder was diagnosed with a mild left ankle sprain. Vogel was uncertain of Schroder’s availability for the preseason finale on Friday. Schroder wounded much more optimistic.
“It’s pretty good,” he said. “I got treatment on it already, iced it during the game, so I think it’s nothing to worry about. We’ll see how it’s feeling in the morning, but I think it’s alright.”
The injury did not look too serious, but the Lakers training staff could easily recommend that Schroder sits the final preseason game in order to properly rest for the upcoming 2020-21 season.
Getting Schroder reps with the rest of the roster is important, but in a season that may come down to the healthiest team, there is no reason to risk potentially aggravating the ankle further in a meaningless game.
Prior to hurting his ankle, Schroder continued to try and find some chemistry with his new teammates while looking for his spots to attack. Schroder finished with seven points, four rebounds and three assists in 24 minutes. He struggled at the free throw line, converting just one of four attempts.
Even if Schroder does end up suiting up against the Suns on Friday, Vogel would be wise to limit his minutes and allow someone like Talen Horton-Tucker to command more of the offense.
Vogel says Alex Caruso could return for final preseason game
Alex Caruso has been missing from the rotation as he nurses a hip flexor strain, and Vogel said it is possible he returns against the Suns in the Lakers preseason finale.
Caruso proved himself to be an integral part of Vogel’s lineups in the playoffs, but with a plethora of guards and the emergence of Horton-Tucker it will be interesting to see how his minutes shake out over the course of the season.
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