The Los Angeles Lakers will take on the Charlotte Hornets with a chance to put them further out of playoff contention in the Eastern Conference.
The Hornets currently sit 1.5 games back of the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. However, the No. 6 seed through the Hornets at No. 10 are all separated by just 2.5 games, meaning there could be a ton of movement before the 2018-19 NBA season ends.
Leading the Hornets to a potential playoff berth is Kemba Walker, who in his eighth season is putting up career numbers across the board. His 25.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 5.9 assists are all career-highs, and he is on pace to play all 82 games for just the second time in his career.
For the Lakers, it feels as if almost every player is injured. Josh Hart was officially shut down for the rest of the season after undergoing a procedure on his right knee patellar tendon.
In addition to Hart, Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram have also been shut down for the rest of season. And for the Hornets matchup, Reggie Bullock and Tyson Chandler are both questionable.
This simply gives more opportunity for young players like Moritz Wagner, Alex Caruso, and Johnathan Williams, who have all shown great flashes of play recently. However, it’s been Caruso who’s proven that he deserves a long-term chance in the NBA. He’s been a legitimately effective player on both ends of the floor since joining the rotation full time in the beginning of March.
LeBron James should be back in the starting lineup after missing Wednesday night’s loss to the Utah Jazz due to load management.
The Hornets will obviously be far more motivated to win this game than the Lakers. However, the Lakers are 2-1 since being officially eliminated from the playoffs, meaning they’re loving the role of spoiler as this season mercifully winds to a close.
Los Angeles Lakers (33-42) vs. Charlotte Hornets (35-39)
7:30 P.M. PT, Mar. 29, 2019
Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM (ESPN), 1330 KWKW (Spanish)
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Rajon Rondo
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF: LeBron James
PF: Kyle Kuzma
C: JaVale McGee
Key Reserves: Alex Caruso, Moritz Wagner, Jonathan Williams, Lance Stephenson
Projected Jazz Starting Lineup:
PG: Kemba Walker
SG: Dwayne Bacon
SF: Miles Bridges
PF: Marvin Williams
C: Bismack Biyombo
Key Reserves: Frank Kaminsky, Willy Hernangomez, Malik Monk, Jeremy Lamb