The Los Angeles Lakers will take on the Sacramento Kings in former head coach Luke Walton’s first game back in Los Angeles with a very depleted roster filled with injuries.
The Lakers are in the midst of their best start since a decade and are only now entering a relatively easy stretch of the 2019-20 NBA season schedule where they will play eight straight games against teams currently under .500. While it’s never easy to win eight games in a row, this might be the stretch to do it for the Lakers.
If they want to do that, they’ll have to at least get it started without Avery Bradley, as it was announced he would be missing at least 1-2 weeks with a hairline fracture in his right leg. Bradley has been playing excellent basketball for the Lakers, so this could be a major loss for the time being.
This likely means a significant uptick in minutes for Alex Caruso, Rajon Rondo, and Quinn Cook, who all bring at least one facet of Bradley’s game to the table. Either way, it’s possible the Lakers perimeter defense could struggle in Bradley’s absence.
The Lakers otherwise appear to be somewhat healthy. Only Bradley and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will sit out against the Kings. Caldwell-Pope is currently questionable after suffering an ankle injury at the end of the team’s win over the Golden State Warriors.
Anthony Davis is considered probable after missing the Warriors game with a sore shoulder and sore ribs.
On the Kings side, there are several players out for this game. To start, Marvin Bagley III is still nursing a fractured thumb and will be out for this game. He’s joined by De’Aaron Fox, who was recently ruled out for four weeks with a left ankle sprain. Caleb Swanigan will also be out while Dewayne Dedmon and Trevor Ariza are both listed as questionable, but it’s more likely that they play than don’t.
Despite all of this, the Kings have won four of their last five games, including wins against the Utah Jazz and Portland Trail Blazers.
The Lakers should be able to have their way in the paint with Davis, Dwight Howard, and JaVale McGee all healthy and playing good basketball. On the perimeter, the Lakers will have to deal with Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic without Bradley and possibly Caldwell-Pope, so Caruso and Danny Green will have huge roles defensively.
This is a game that the Lakers should win, even without Bradley and Caldwell-Pope. They have more talent and are playing a better style of basketball than the Kings and if they do what they’re supposed to, that will be translated in the game.
Los Angeles Lakers (9-2) vs. Sacramento Kings (4-6)
7:30 P.M. PT, Nov. 15, 2019
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM (ESPN), 1330 KWKW (Spanish)
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Alex Caruso
SG: Danny Green
SF: LeBron James
PF: Anthony Davis
C: JaVale McGee
Key Reserves: Kyle Kuzma, Dwight Howard, Quinn Cook, Rajon Rondo, Jared Dudley
Projected Kings Starting Lineup:
PG: Cory Joseph
SG: Buddy Hield
SF: Harrison Barnes
PF: Richaun Holmes
C: Nemanja Bjelica
Key Reserves: Bogdan Bogdanovich, Yogi Ferrell, Harry Giles, Trevor Ariza, Dewayne Dedmon