Saturday evening marks Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James’ annual trip to Ohio to take on his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers, where he spent 11 seasons and won a championship in 2016.
The Lakers are coming off a heartbreaking loss on Wednesday to the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday, a game where they trailed by 20 at the beginning of the fourth and took a two-point lead late. But, Kyrie Irving hit a clutch 3 to seal the win for Dallas.
With a strong 7-2 record at Crypto.com Arena, the Lakers are looking to turn the tide on the road as they are 2-5 and have struggled away from home. Now embarking on a four-game road trip, this will be an opportunity for the purple and gold to build some momentum.
However, once again the Lakers will be shorthanded as injuries continue to pile up. It was announced on Saturday that Rui Hachimura underwent a procedure for a nasal fracture and will be re-evaluated in a week, likely missing the entirety of the trip. Jarred Vanderbilt, Gabe Vincent and Cam Reddish still remain out as well.
Reddish has been dealing with left adductor soreness and was upgraded to questionable for this game although he still is unable to go.
On the plus side, James and Anthony Davis are good to go. James is still powering through his left calf contusion, the same deal with Davis dealing with his left adductor injury.
The Cavaliers entering Saturday at 8-7 and they have dealt with their own respective injury issues, specifically with Donovan Mitchell, who has missed the last four games with a hamstring issue. He was listed as questionable but is making his return against the Lakers. Same deal with Isaac Okoro, who has missed nine straight with a knee injury and was listed as questionable but is suiting up as well.
Getting Mitchell back with be a massive boost as he is their leading scorer, averaging 29.2 points a contest with his backcourt mate Darius Garland behind him at 20.3 points.
Without Reddish in the lineup, Max Christie is in the starting lineup once again and likely is tasked with guarding Mitchell, which will be a tall task. Another potential issue for the Lakers is the rebounding battle as the Cavaliers have two bigs in Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen who are capable of dominating the glass.
Cleveland lost on Wednesday as well, getting blown out 129-96 by the Miami Heat. They have now got some reinforcements coming back though, so expect a competitive game.
Los Angeles Lakers (9-7) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (8-7)
4:30 p.m. PT, Nov. 25, 2023
Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, Cleveland, Ohio
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers starting lineup:
PG: D’Angelo Russell
SG: Max Christie
SF: Taurean Prince
PF: LeBron James
C: Anthony Davis
Key Reserves: Austin Reaves, Christian Wood, Jaxson Hayes
Projected Cavaliers starting lineup:
PG: Darius Garland
SG: Donovan Mitchell
SF: Max Strus
PF: Evan Mobley
C: Jarrett Allen
Key Reserves: Caris LeVert, Isaac Okoro, Georges Niang, Craig Porter, Tristian Thompson
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