The Los Angeles Lakers begin a stretch of five consecutive games at Staples Center against the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday still without Lonzo Ball (left knee contusion) and Brandon Ingram (concussion).
Ball is sitting in a fourth consecutive contest, while it’s Ingram third game missed since he was placed into the NBA’s concussion protocol. Ball did some on-court work prior to the Lakers traveling to Salt Lake City for Tuesday’s game, which led to soreness in his left knee.
Lakers head coach Luke Walton said the rookie point guard won’t return to the lineup until he his pain-free, and followed that up by conceding the team is preparing to finish the season without the services of Ball and Ingram.
Ball was at the center of a comeback win when the Lakers last faced the Spurs. Arguably his finest shooting performance of the season, which amounted to a career-high six 3-pointers (with multiple conversions coming in the fourth quarter) helped the Lakers finish 4-0 on their road trip.
Although Ingram gives the Lakers both a playmaker and go-to option late in games, the team has better managed to offset his absence than Ball’s. That’s thanks in large part to Kyle Kuzma, who is tied with Ingram for second on the team at 16.1 points per game.
Walton may again resort to utilizing Julius Randle as a pseudo point guard, which lent to some success against the Utah Jazz. Though, the second-year coach wondered if it also prevented his bruising forward from playing his style of basketball down the stretch of the game.
Both the Lakers and Spurs are coming off a loss Tuesday, and it’s key considering San Antonio is jockeying for playoff positioning. Los Angeles is looking to snap a three-game losing streak.