LeBron James will be back in the starting lineup after a one-game absence when the Los Angeles Lakers take on the lowly Cleveland Cavaliers in search of their ninth consecutive win.
The Lakers have maintained their winning streak despite several missed games from very important players. The Lakers won both ends of a road back-to-back against two playoff teams, the Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder. They defeated the Mavericks without Anthony Davis in the lineup and beat the Thunder without Davis or James.
Now, for this game against the Cavaliers, James will return after missing one game due to flu-like symptoms. Avery Bradley will also play with a similar illness. Danny Green will be back in the lineup after missing the Thunder game with a sore hip. Meanwhile, Davis and Rajon Rondo will not play with various minor injuries.
On the Cavaliers side, Larry Nance Jr. and Kevin Porter Jr. will be the only players missing due to injury. While not a good team during the 2019-20 NBA season, the Cavaliers have won two in a row, including a big win against the Denver Nuggets on the road.
That win saw three different Cavaliers — Kevin Love, Cedi Osman, and Tristan Thompson — all get double-doubles. Meanwhile, the young backcourt of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland combined for 43 points on 17-of-34 from the field.
The Cavaliers have been dealing with a lot of drama as a team this season as their veterans — Thompson and Love — simply have no interest in being there anymore as the team attempts a full-scale rebuild. This has led to some on- and off-the-court altercations involving Love.
Despite this, the team still has won two in a row and shockingly are just six games out of the 2020 NBA playoffs. While this is the nature of both conferences right now, the Cavaliers still being in it is quite a miracle.
As Davis will not play, there was no need to play him. The Lakers were able to handle two Western Conference playoff teams on the road without him. Surely, with James back and the team back at home, Davis can get completely healthy.
After this game and one more home game against the Orlando Magic, the Lakers begin one of their hardest six-game stretches of the season.
They’ll want Davis to be as healthy as possible when they head on the road to face the Houston Rockets, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, and Brooklyn Nets while coming back home to play the Los Angeles Clippers.
Los Angeles Lakers (32-7) vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (12-27)
7:30 P.M. PT, Jan. 13, 2020
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM (ESPN), 1330 KWKW (Spanish)
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: LeBron James
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Danny Green
PF: Kyle Kuzma
C: JaVale McGee
Key Reserves: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Dwight Howard, Alex Caruso, Quinn Cook, Jared Dudley
Projected Cavaliers Starting Lineup:
PG: Collin Sexton
SG: Darius Garland
SF: Cedi Osman
PF: Kevin Love
C: Tristan Thompson
Key Reserves: Alfonzo McKinnie, Brandon Knight, Ante Zizic, Dante Exum