Coming off back-to-back home losses to the Oklahoma City Thunder and New York Knicks, the Los Angeles Lakers look to reverse their fortunes in the start of a two-game road trip against the Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Mavericks.
Sunday marks the third contest between the Lakers and Timberwolves this season. The two teams have split the matchups thus far, with Los Angeles winning the most recent game on Nov. 7 by a final score of 114-110.
LeBron James led the way with 24 points, while Brandon Ingram tallied 20 of his own to go along with 6 assists and 5 rebounds. This time around, the Lakers won’t have the luxury of penciling James into the starting lineup.
The 14-time NBA All-Star is still recovering from the significant groin strain he suffered on Christmas Day and will be re-evaluated on Friday. He’s due to miss at least three more games as a result.
The Lakers face a new-look Timberwolves team that no longer has the services of Jimmy Butler. His trade to the Philadelphia 76ers in November has since opened the door for increased opportunities for point guard Derrick Rose and center Karl-Anthony Towns.
Towns, in particular, has been on a tear over his last five games, averaging 30 points, 16.2 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 3.2 blocks. He struggled in his last game against Los Angeles, however, converting just 5-of-16 field goal attempts for a total of 13 points.
Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma, who has been sidelined since the second half of Wednesday’s game against the Thunder, traveled with the team to Minnesota and is now considered a game-time decision. The team was previously hopeful that he would be available for the two-game road trip.
Should Kuzma suit up, he would offer some much needed reinforcements to a Lakers team currently being plagued by injuries. The second-year player out of Utah was excellent during the month of December, averaging 22.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game.
The Timberwolves will be without Derrick Rose and Robert Covington.
Los Angeles Lakers (21-18) vs. Minnesota Timberwolves (18-21)
12:30 P.M. PT, Jan. 6, 2019
Target Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM (ESPN)/1330 KWKW (Spanish)
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Lonzo Ball
SG: Josh Hart
SF: Brandon Ingram
PF: Kyle Kuzma
C: JaVale McGee
Key Reserves: Michael Beasley, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Tyson Chandler, Lance Stephenson
Projected Timberwolves Starting Lineup:
PG: Jeff Teague
SG: Josh Okogie
SF: Andrew Wiggins
PF: Taj Gibson
C: Karl-Anthony Towns
Key Reserves: Gorgui Dieng, Tyus Jones, Dario Saric, Anthony Tolliver