The Los Angeles Lakers are without LeBron James on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks, although Anthony Davis is expected to play.
James is serving a one-game suspension for his role in Sunday’s altercation with Detroit Pistons forward Isaiah Stewart. The league determined that James’ hit to the face of Stewart was both dangerous and unnecessary, resulting in him missing a huge game on L.A’s Eastern Conference road trip.
James joins Trevor Ariza, Kendrick Nunn and Austin Reaves as players already deemed out for Tuesday night’s primetime meeting.
Meanwhile, Davis has been dealing with an illness that Frank Vogel revealed is a fever. He tested things out pregame though and decided he is healthy enough to play.
Obviously, Davis is integral to what the Lakers do on a nightly basis so it is good to have his presence against a team like the Knicks, who tend to play an old-school, paint-driven style.
The Knicks are dealing with some injuries of their own, though, as centers Mitchell Robinson and Taj Gibson are out. Robinson had already been ruled out due to a concussion, while Gibson is dealing with a groin injury that ruled him out pregame.
Derrick Rose was also ruled out pregame due to a sore ankle, so the Lakers are catching some breaks there.
Both the Lakers and Knicks would like to be as healthy as possible for this game, as it can serve as a litmus test for both sides. Hovering around .500, it would be a good early season momentum boost for either team to grab a win in a national TV setting.
To grab a win, the Knicks will rely on 2021 All-Star Julius Randle, who currently leads his team in points, rebounds, and assists per game. Meanwhile, the Lakers will put the ball in the hands of Russell Westbrook, who should be doing much of the initiating with Davis either out or at less than 100%.
And based on recent comments by Frank Vogel, Tuesday night could be another chance for the Lakers to find something positive with starting DeAndre Jordan at the center position. Vogel believes this lineup decision helps with defense and toughness after some bad losses with Davis at the five.
Tuesday night is a relatively important game this early in the season. A short-handed loss for the Lakers would be a difficult blow to the momentum they talked about following the Pistons win. For the Knicks, losing to L.A. without James would serve as a tough reality check.
Another storyline to watch is Carmelo Anthony once again playing at Madison Square Garden. Anthony tends to play better when he feels comfortable in the environment, and he’s played the best basketball of his career on the Knicks legendary court.
Lakers (9-9) vs. Knicks (9-8)
4:30 p.m. PT, Nov. 23, 2021
Madison Square Garden, New York City, New York
TV: TNT, Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Russell Westbrook
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Talen Horton-Tucker
PF: Anthony Davis
C: DeAndre Jordan
Key Reserves: Carmelo Anthony, Malik Monk, Wayne Ellington, Dwight Howard, Rajon Rondo
Projected Knicks Starting Lineup:
PG: Kemba Walker
SG: Evan Fournier
SF: RJ Barrett
PF: Julius Randle
C: Nerlens Noel
Key Reserves: Derrick Rose, Alec Burks, Immanuel Quickley, Obi Toppin
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