The Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets will both be without at least one significant piece as they face each other for the second time this season with lower than expected stakes.
The Lakers and Nets met in February at Staples Center for the first time this season. That game, the Nets were without Kevin Durant and other role players while the Lakers missed Anthony Davis and Dennis Schroder. The Nets have gotten slightly healthier, but things have gotten much worse for the Lakers.
Durant is back from a two-month rehab from a hamstring injury. In addition, the Nets have since added Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge. However, they will be without James Harden, Tyler Johnson and Spencer Dinwiddie.
LeBron James, Davis and Jared Dudley were all already ruled out already for L.A., and then Kyle Kuzma (calf) and Marc Gasol (hamstring) were also ruled unable to go due to minor injuries.
Having these players out means the Lakers will once again be putting a heavy weight on the shoulders of Schroder, who struggled on Thursday in the same role. While he did have 10 points and 14 assists, Schroder was wildly inefficient as a shooter and turned the ball over seven times.
With Kuzma and Gasol unable to go, it will make things even harder on a Lakers team that has not played a game fully healthy in over two months. With James and Davis out, guarding Durant will be a nearly impossible task.
Schroder, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and possibly Caruso will have to spend a lot of time dealing with Kyrie Irving. However, guys like Markieff Morris, Wesley Matthews and hopefully Kuzma can face up against Durant.
Even though the goal is to win every game they play, the Lakers will likely need to lower their expectations for this one. Success will more likely come in the form of a complete effort on both sides of the floor, even if that results in a loss.
The Nets have dropped some head-scratching performances this season, but the Lakers would need plenty of things to go their way to steal a victory from a red-hot Brooklyn team.
Lakers (32-20) vs. Nets (36-16)
5:30 p.m. PT, Apr. 10, 2021
Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Dennis Schroder
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF: Wesley Matthews
PF: Markieff Morris
C: Andre Drummond
Key Reserves: Montrezl Harrell, Talen Horton-Tucker, Alex Caruso, Ben McLemore, Alfonzo McKinnie, Devontae Cacok
Projected Nets Starting Lineup:
PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Joe Harris
SF: Kevin Durant
PF: Jeff Green
C: LaMarcus Aldridge
Key Reserves: Bruce Brown, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Timothe Luwawu-Cabbarot, Nic Claxton, Alize Johnson, Chris Chiozza
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