The Los Angeles Lakers are back home after a two-game road trip to play the young and exciting Dallas Mavericks. While they are in completely separate phases of contention, both teams enter the matchup with a 2-5 record.
After winning two straight games, the Lakers suffered back-to-back close losses at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs and Minnesota Timberwolves. Hopefully playing at home will give the team the focus and energy needed to get back on the winning track.
The Lakers will likely still be fiddling with lineups with the return of Brandon Ingram from his suspension. Last game, head coach Luke Walton went with LeBron James, Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, and JaVale McGee.
Walton liked Ingram at the shooting guard spot, but felt he needed to look at the film before making any further decisions. After doing so, Walton didn’t necessarily have a complete picture but he’s sticking with the same group.
The starters and Lakers as a hole will be tasked with slowing down electrifying rookie Luka Doncic. “With team defense,” answered Walton when asked how the Lakers might accomplish as much.
“He’s a very good play maker, he gets in the heart of the defense and he’s got great vision. We’ve got to make sure we keep ball pressure on him and the shell defense is built well around him.”
Ball also spoke about matching up with Doncic, saying, “He’s a great player. Looking forward to playing him and D. Smith. It’s an interesting backcourt. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
It’s unsure who will do a majority of the work on Doncic, but he will be the focal point of the Mavericks offense as well as the Lakers defense.
JaVale McGee will also have his hands full with center DeAndre Jordan. Jordan is a wildly talented back to the basket big man who is having the beginnings of a career year with the Mavericks.
While the Mavericks are probably not a playoff team in this tough Western Conference, they are a tough team to play. Hopefully, the Lakers will be able to get through some of these struggles in order to pick up their third win of the season.
After missing the entire preseason due to a knee contusion suffered at Las Vegas Summer Legaue, Moritz Wagner is active for the first time this season. He’s fresh off completing a rehab assignment with South Bay in the G League.
Los Angeles Lakers (2-5) vs. Dallas Mavericks (2-5)
7:30 P.M. PT, Oct. 31, 2018
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM (ESPN)/1330 KWKW (Spanish)
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Lonzo Ball
SG: Brandon Ingram
SF: LeBron James
PF: Kyle Kuzma
C: JaVale McGee
Key Reserves: Rajon Rondo, Josh Hart, Lance Stephenson, Johnathan Williams, Moritz Wagner
Projected Mavericks Starting Lineup:
PG: Dennis Smith Jr.
SG: Wesley Matthews
SF: Luka Doncic
PF: Harrison Barnes
C: DeAndre Jordan
Key Reserves: Dwight Powell, J.J. Barea, Dorian Finney-Smith