The Los Angeles Lakers begin life without LeBron James on Tuesday night when they take on the Memphis Grizzlies on the road.
James injured his right foot/ankle in Sunday afternoon’s game against the Dallas Mavericks. Even though he was able to finish out the game, the injury is considered to be significant and he will now likely miss multiple weeks of action.
The injury obviously does not come at an ideal time considering the Lakers are fighting to get back into postseason contention. The Lakers have been playing well, winners of four of five since the trade deadline, but now they must find a way to stay afloat without James.
The team’s primary ball-handler in James’ absence would be D’Angelo Russell, but unfortunately, he is likely out of this game as well as being listed as doubtful with an ankle sprain of his own.
That means Dennis Schroder will handle point guard duties once again for L.A. while Austin Reaves and Lonnie Walker IV will run the second unit.
Anthony Davis will also of course need to pick up the load offensively as well. The good news is that he looked as healthy as he’s been since returning from injury in Sunday’s win over the Mavericks, recording 30 points, 15 rebounds, four assists and three blocks. He stated afterward that his confidence has never wavered, and that will be extra important moving forward with him leading the team in LeBron’s absence.
The Grizzlies are a tough matchup for L.A. as the second-best team in the Western Conference, and they will surely be looking for revenge after losing to the Lakers in overtime last month.
Ja Morant is having another All-Star season while Jaren Jackson Jr. is the favorite to win the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award. It will be interesting to see Davis and Jackson matchup down low with both having size and length to shut each other down.
This is the first of a back-to-back for the Lakers before they travel to take on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday in two games that are extremely important for the Western Conference playoff landscape.
Los Angeles Lakers (29-32) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (36-23)
4:30 p.m. PT, Feb. 28, 2023
FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee
TV: TNT, Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Dennis Schroder
SG: Malik Beasley
SF: Troy Brown Jr.
PF: Jarred Vanderbilt
C: Anthony Davis
Key Reserves: Austin Reaves, Lonnie Walker IV, Rui Hachimura, Mo Bamba, Wenyen Gabriel
Projected Grizzlies Starting Lineup:
PG: Ja Morant
SG: Desmond Bane
SF: Dillon Brooks
PF: Jaren Jackson Jr.
C: Xavier Tillman
Key Reserves: Brandon Clarke, Santi Aldama, Tyus Jones, John Konchar, Luke Kennard
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