After a rough loss to the L.A. Clippers, the Los Angeles Lakers look to bounce back on Saturday night when they host the New York Knicks on ABC.
As has been the case for most of the season, the Lakers are short-handed again in this one as Carmelo Anthony is out after injuring his hamstring in the second quarter of the Clippers game.
While Anthony is not playing in this game, he reportedly avoided the worst with the hamstring injury and is considered day-to-day moving forward. He will not get the opportunity at a revenge game against his former team, however, so other Lakers players are going to have to step up in his absence.
The main person who will be counted on is Anthony Davis, who has been on a tear since coming back from a knee injury of his own. In his last four games, he’s averaging 29.5 points, 12.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.5 steals and 2.5 blocks while shooting 55.4% from the field.
With Anthony being out, Trevor Ariza is likely to see increased playing time after the backup forward position. While Ariza doesn’t bring the same skillset to the table as Anthony, Davis was complimentary of how he played against the Clippers after Anthony went down.
Someone who can help pick up the scoring slack without Anthony is Malik Monk, who has been on a tear since coming back from health and safety protocols on Christmas. In 19 games since then, he’s averaging 16.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists while shooting 49.1% from the field and 45.3% from 3-point range.
The Lakers did receive some last-minute good news though as LeBron James is playing after missing the last five with a knee injury. He tested out his knee pregame and the Lakers announced he is good to go.
On the Knicks’ side of things, they are essentially at full strength minus Derrick Rose, who has been out for a while with an ankle injury.
That means the Lakers have the tough task of slowing down the Knicks’ big frontcourt, led by Julius Randle. Even though Randle’s numbers are down this year compared to last, he’s still a bulldozer that averages 18.5 points, 9.9 rebounds and 5.1 assists.
Considering he starts alongside another big man in Mitchell Robinson, it will be interesting to see if Vogel goes with a bigger lineup, perhaps starting Dwight Howard, to match them. If not, then Davis and Stanley Johnson will be responsible for handling Randle and Robinson to start the game.
Lakers (25-28) vs. Knicks (24-28)
5:30 p.m. PT, Feb. 5, 2022
Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, California
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Russell Westbrook
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: LeBron James
PF: Stanley Johnson
C: Anthony Davis
Key Reserves: Malik Monk, Austin Reaves, Talen Horton-Tucker, Dwight Howard, Trevor Ariza, Kent Bazemore
Projected Knicks Starting Lineup:
PG: Kemba Walker
SG: RJ Barrett
SF: Evan Fournier
PF: Julius Randle
C: Mitchell Robinson
Key Reserves: Immanuel Quickley, Obi Toppin, Nerlens Noel, Alec Burks, Quentin Grimes
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