Lakers Vs. Bucks Preseason Preview: LeBron James, Austin Reaves & Others Out As Damian Lillard & Giannis Antetokounmpo Duo Debuts
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks, Lakers, Anthony Davis
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers play their penultimate preseason game on Sunday afternoon when they host the Milwaukee Bucks at Arena.

While it’s still just preseason, Sunday marks the highly-anticipated Bucks debut of Damian Lillard, who was acquired a few weeks ago in a blockbuster trade with the Portland Trail Blazers to form a superstar duo with Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The Lakers are the first team to get a look at the Lillard-Antetokounmpo duo, which should be a good test to get ready for the regular season. Given Lillard’s outside shooting ability, he should provide a different dynamic to the Bucks, who have struggled in the halfcourt in recent seasons. Having to keep an eye on Lillard at all times while also trying to prevent Antetokounmpo from getting down hill will be an extremely tough challenge all season long for teams although it will likely take some time to develop chemistry.

Meanwhile, the Lakers’ chemistry has been on point this preseason as they continue to build off last season’s Western Conference Finals run. Perhaps most impressive has been their offense as the Lakers have scored 177 points in the five quarters they have played with regular rotations.

The Lakers’ outside shooting should be much-improve this season as evidenced by their 37.9 percentage on 38.3 attempts per game this preseason. While that may not be sustainable, it’s clear that the Lakers want to shoot more long-range shots this season and have the personnel to knock them down at a high clip.

As far as who is playing in this game for the Lakers, they are still without Jarred Vanderbilt and Gabe Vincent, who are dealing with minor injuries. With a little over a week until the start of the regular season, it makes sense to give those guys as much time as possible to get back to 100% and avoid the injuries lingering into the regular season.

LeBron James, Austin Reaves and Jalen Hood-Schifino are also sitting out with the first two just resting and the rookie dealing with a minor knee issue.

That means that Anthony Davis and D’Angelo Russell will lead the Lakers against the Bucks’ new star duo of Lillard and Antetokounmpo.

After the Lakers take on the Bucks, they will play the Phoenix Suns in Palm Springs on Thursday in their final game of the preseason before opening up the regular season on Tuesday, Oct. 24 against the defending champion Denver Nuggets.

Los Angeles Lakers (2-2) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (1-1)

4:00 p.m. PT, October 15, 2023 Arena, Los Angeles, CA
TV: Spectrum SportsNet, ESPN
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA

Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:

PG: D’Angelo Russell
SG: Taurean Prince
SF: Rui Hachimura
PF: Anthony Davis
C: Christian Wood

Key Reserves: Max Christie, Jaxson Hayes, Cam Reddish, Maxwell Lewis, D’Moi Hodge

Projected Bucks Starting Lineup:

PG: Damian Lillard
SG: Malik Beasley
SF: Jae Crowder
PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo
C: Brook Lopez

Key Reserves: Bobby Portis, Pat Connaughton, Robin Lopez, Cam Payne

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