The Los Angeles Lakers hope to finish their three-game road trip on the winning side and LeBron James continues his return tour at Quicken Loans Arena against the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers.
The big story will be how Cavaliers fans treat James when he is announced or when he has the ball. The likeliest scenario involves tons of praise, but of course there may still be those who wish to boo James for leaving the team in free agency a second time.
After a couple days off, the Lakers should be refreshed, coming off of a great 113-97 victory over the Miami Heat that saw James unleash a 51-point performance on his former team.
The last time James faced the Cavaliers for the first time following his departure, he torched them for 38 points, 5 rebounds and 8 assists in a 118-90 victory in 2010.
Now, however, things are different for the Cavaliers. A team that usually is filled with veterans is relying on several young players to put up big numbers, with Kevin Love still recovering from a toe injury that is expected to sideline him until 2019 and J.R. Smith leaving the team until they can trade him.
Thus, the Cavaliers team now belongs to guys like Jordan Clarkson, Cedi Osman, Rodney Hood and Larry Nance Jr., with veteran help from George Hill and Tristan Thompson.
The Cavaliers have struggled to put together wins this season. Through 15 games, they have just two wins and have already suffered eight double-digit losses. While there are no easy nights in the NBA, the Lakers clearly have the more talented and better put together roster.
The Lakers will still be dealing with the temporary loss of Rajon Rondo, who is out four weeks with a broken hand.
The burden will be more on Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram to handle much of the point guard duties, and a lowly Cavs team may be a good chance for head coach Luke Walton to experiment with some other lineups in the event of a blowout.
The Lakers have been a decent team away from Staples Center so far this year, with a 4-4 record. That includes a befuddling loss to the Orlando Magic earlier on this road trip. Because of that, the Lakers will likely have their focus on high alert to avoid another loss of that kind.
Los Angeles Lakers (9-7) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (2-13)
5:00 P.M. PT, Nov. 21, 2018
Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio
TV: ESPN, 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: Tyson Chandler, Josh Hart, Lance Stephenson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
Projected Cavaliers Starting Lineup:
PG: Collin Sexton
SG: Rodney Hood
SF: Cedi Osman
PF: Larry Nance Jr.
C: Tristan Thompson
Key Reserves: Ante Zizic, Jordan Clarkson, David Nwaba, Kyle Korver