Lakers Vs. Nets Preview: LeBron James & Anthony Davis Out
Dennis Schroder, Kyrie Irving, Lakers
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Lakers are without LeBron James and Anthony Davis, taking the wind out of a potential marquee matchup with Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets. This is the second game of a five-game road trip for L.A.

James (left ankle soreness) and Davis (right foot stress injury) were ruled out more than a day in advance of this contest. Both played in the team’s controversial loss to the Boston Celtics, with Davis coming off the bench as part of his minutes restriction.

Joining them on the inactive list is Austin Reaves, who continues to sit with a left hamstring strain. This means the Lakers must lean heavily on their role players to steal a win against one of the NBA’s best teams so far this season.

After a slow start to the season, the Nets have exploded onto the scene and have firmly cemented themselves among the elite of the league. They are 17-7 in their last 24 games, including a 12-game win streak that saw them defeat teams like the Golden State Warriors, Milwaukee Bucks, Cleveland Cavaliers and New Orleans Pelicans.

For Monday’s matchup, Kevin Durant is out as he has been for several weeks with a knee injury, T.J. Warren and Ben Simmons are out as well. Irving and their many other offensive weapons figure to be in the lineup.

The Nets have the NBA’s No. 6-ranked offense. But more surprisingly, they rank 11th defensively, largely thanks to Simmons and Nic Claxton, who has quickly become one of the league’s best defensive players. The Nets have been able to win games leaning on both their offense and defense, something that hasn’t been true for most of this era of Nets basketball.

The Lakers have a tall task ahead of them. Defensively, the guard trio of Russell Westbrook, Patrick Beverley and Dennis Schroder faces off against Irving, one of the most skilled and hardest-to-guard players in the league. Schroder and Beverley have had success taking away elite guards at various times this season, and this figures to be one of their toughest tests.

On the offensive end, the Lakers may struggle to score in the paint without Davis or James while facing Claxton. This means attacking the paint and kicking out to open shooters, exposing the relatively weak defensive rotation of Nets guards, is their best path to success.

Los Angeles Lakers (23-27) vs. Brooklyn Nets (30-19)

4:30 p.m. PT, Jan. 30, 2023
Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York
TV: NBATV, Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA

Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:

PG: Dennis Schroder
SG: Patrick Beverley
SF: Troy Brown Jr.
PF: Rui Hachimura
C: Thomas Bryant

Key Reserves: Russell Westbrook, Lonnie Walker IV, Wenyen Gabriel, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Max Christie

Projected Nets Starting Lineup:

PG: Kyrie Irving
SG: Seth Curry
SF: Joe Harris
PF: Royce O’Neale
C: Nicolas Claxton

Key Reserves: Yuta Watanabe, Patty Mills, Cam Thomas

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