After a rough 0-5 start, the Los Angeles Lakers host the Denver Nuggets on Sunday night looking to earn their first win.
This is a rematch of Wednesday’s matchup in Denver in which the Nuggets won 110-99. The Lakers played them tough in the first half and went into the locker room tied, although the Nuggets pulled away in the third quarter and eventually cruised to the win.
The biggest question mark for L.A. going into this one is the status of Anthony Davis. The big man has been dealing with a back issue since the preseason. He aggravated it in the last matchup against the Nuggets, forcing him to miss Friday’s loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
It appears that taking a game off was the right move as Davis is expected to return to action in this game, which is huge for the Lakers considering he is most capable of guarding reigning two-time MVP Nikola Jokic.
Jokic is off to another strong start to this season, averaging 20.7 points, 10.7 rebounds and 8.8 assists. He had one of his best games on Wednesday against the Lakers with 31 points, 13 rebounds, nine assists and four steals.
Davis had a strong game as well though with 22 points, 14 rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocks. While Davis’ defense has been incredible to start the year, the Lakers likely need him to take on more of a scoring load given the team’s offensive struggles.
Through five games, the Lakers rank dead last in the NBA in a number of offensive categories such as points per game, offensive rating, 3-point makes, 3-point percentage, field goal percentage and true shooting percentage.
The Nuggets’ defense has been subpar to this point, so hopefully playing them at home is a chance for the Lakers to get going offensively to build some momentum moving forward.
With Russell Westbrook coming off the bench and leading the second unit for the second straight game, that should give the Lakers a scoring punch they previously didn’t have in a reserve role.
Denver has a lot of firepower of its own though, including Michael Porter Jr. who is shooting 54.1% from 3 on 7.4 attempts per game. He sat out the last matchup against the Lakers so he is someone they will have to account for this time around.
Meanwhile, the Lakers are without wing Juan Toscano-Anderson for a second straight game due to an ankle sprain. Dennis Schroder and Thomas Bryant also remain out as they recover from their respective thumb surgeries.
Los Angeles Lakers (0-5) @ Denver Nuggets (4-2)
6:30 p.m. PT, October 30, 2022
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Patrick Beverley
SG: Lonnie Walker IV
SF: Troy Brown Jr.
PF: LeBron James
C: Anthony Davis
Key Reserves: Russell Westbrook, Kendrick Nunn, Austin Reaves, Damian Jones, Wenyen Gabriel
Projected Nuggets Starting Lineup:
PG: Jamal Murray
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF: Michael Porter Jr.
PF: Aaron Gordon
C: Nikola Jokic
Key Reserves: Bruce Brown, Bones Hyland, Jeff Green, Christian Braun, DeAndre Jordan
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