The Los Angeles Lakers return to action on Friday night when they host the Sacramento Kings looking to snap a four-game losing streak.
At 2-9, the Lakers have greatly struggled to start the season and things don’t get easier from here. In this game, they are without star LeBron James who suffered a left adductor strain in Wednesday night’s loss to the L.A. Clippers.
The good news is that James avoided a tear and is considered day-to-day moving forward. He will likely also miss Sunday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets considering the Lakers then don’t play until the following Friday. That would give him eight days to rest the groin while only missing two games.
In James’ absence though, other players will need to step up and that starts with Anthony Davis. The Lakers big man is having another quality two-way season for L.A. although he has often disappeared in second halves offensively. That cannot happen in this one as the Lakers rank dead last in offense rating, and that’s with James. Without him, Davis will need to be ultra-aggressive offensively getting shots for himself and others.
Even though James is out, Russell Westbrook will continue to come off the bench for the Lakers, a role he has thrived in. The Kings actually have a quality backcourt off the bench in Davion Mitchell and former Laker Malik Monk, so those will be interesting matchups to watch for.
This marks Monk’s first game back in L.A. since leaving in free agency last summer. Monk was one of the lone bright spots on last year’s Lakers and has continued that high level of play in Sacramento, shooting 38.3% from 3-point range while averaging a career-high 4.4 assists.
The head of the snake for Sacramento is De’Aaron Fox though and he is having another strong season, averaging 25.2 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.1 assists. Fox has typically given the Lakers trouble due to his quickness so L.A.’s backcourt will have to keep him in front and away from the basket.
That task will fall on Patrick Beverley and Lonnie Walker IV. Both have been dealing with non-COVID illnesses this week although Beverley was able to return against the Clippers on Wednesday. Walker missed the last two games and is questionable for this one but has a solid chance of playing after being able to participate in practice on Thursday.
Los Angeles Lakers (2-9) vs. Sacramento Kings (4-6)
7:30 p.m. PT, November 11, 2022
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Patrick Beverley
SG: Lonnie Walker IV
SF: Troy Brown Jr.
PF: Wenyen Gabriel
C: Anthony Davis
Key Reserves: Russell Westbrook, Austin Reaves, Kendrick Nunn, Damian Jones, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Matt Ryan
Projected Kings Starting Lineup:
PG: De’Aaron Fox
SG: Kevin Huerter
SF: Harrison Barnes
PF: Keegan Murray
C: Domantas Sabonis
Key Reserves: Malik Monk, Davion Mitchell, Trey Lyles, Chimezie Metu
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