The Los Angeles Lakers open up the 2021 preseason on Sunday afternoon when they host the Brooklyn Nets, although Frank Vogel already announced that key players like LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Trevor Ariza won’t be suiting up.
That means that Westbrook, in particular, won’t make his Lakers debut until Wednesday at the earliest when the team hits the road to take on the Phoenix Suns.
The game was originally scheduled for 7 p.m. PT at Footprint Center in downtown Phoenix, although it was recently announced that it was moved up to 3 p.m. PT.
While 3 p.m. PT is an unusual time for an NBA game, there is a reason behind it as the Phoenix Mercury are hosting the Las Vegas Aces in Game 4 of the semifinals of the WNBA playoffs. That game will now be at 7, which is why the NBA preseason game will be moved up, via Josh Weinfuss of ESPN:
“There were a lot of moving parts and a number of groups, including the NBA and WNBA, the Lakers and their local broadcast partner, and ESPN that had to work together to make this happen,” Jason Rowley, the president and CEO for Suns Legacy Partners, LLC, said in a statement. “In the end, all parties should be proud to be a part of this historic doubleheader.”
It’s great to see the Suns and Lakers as well as their and the NBA’s TV partners were willing to make this change to accommodate the WNBA playoffs, with there now being a unique doubleheader in Phoenix on Wednesday evening. If they weren’t willing to make the change then the Mercury and Aces would’ve had to find another venue to play in.
The game will be televised on Spectrum SportsNet, as always, and will also be on NBA TV for those outside the L.A. market.
Vogel reveals timeline for starting lineup decision
The Lakers’ game against the Suns on Wednesday will be their second of six preseason games, and it seems that Frank Vogel will use all of them before coming to a decision on a starting lineup for Opening Night.
“I would say we’re certainly not going to have any decisions made before the last two preseason games,” Vogel said. “Hopefully, we’ll have some direction at that point, but we could still be looking at those last two games. Try one, one way and other, the other way.
“The first four games, we’ll probably have a lot of guys in and out of the lineup. We won’t be whole in those games. Hopefully, we will be the last two. But like I said, I’m not putting a real timeline on it. Hopefully, we should have some real direction by then.”
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