The Los Angeles Lakers were finally able to get in the win column for the first time this season, picking up a victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday night. They now look to build on that success when they hit the road for the first time to take on the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday,
The Lakers are playing without their leader, however, as LeBron James was originally downgraded to questionable for the contest due to an ankle injury and has since been ruled out.
James, of course, had his ankle landed on in Sunday’s game and immediately got flashbacks about the incident that kept him out for most of the second half-season and rendered him a fraction of the player he normally is last season. Thankfully, this injury was not nearly as serious and LeBron was able to stay in the game and help the Lakers to victory. But he admitted after the game that it was sore and they would see how he feels the next day.
With him being ruled out, it is clear that the ankle is still bothering him to some extent. In his absence, the Lakers need some players to step up offensively as not only is James the Lakers’ leading scorer, but he has also been their best high-volume deep shooter, knocking down 48.3% from three on nine attempts per game.
The main person many will look to is Russell Westbrook, who has struggled so far in his first season in purple and gold. While his playmaking had been solid, he’s averaging just 12 points on 34.9% shooting while also committing 5.7 turnovers. Those numbers will have to improve if LeBron misses any more time.
Carmelo Anthony should also be even more featured and coming off his best game in a Lakers uniform although he is still coming off the bench with Malik Monk inserted into the starting lineup in James’ absence. Both Anthony and Monk will need to continue that hot shooting to give the Lakers an offensive boost. Frank Vogel could also turn to Rajon Rondo a little more in order to have another playmaker on the court.
The Lakers won’t have it easy against a Spurs team looking to snap their own two-game losing streak after an opening night win. While the Spurs don’t have a true superstar player to worry about, they are an extremely balanced scoring team with six players averaging double-figures led by Keldon Johnson, Derrick White, and Doug McDermott.
The Spurs aren’t great from deep but are second in the NBA in points in the paint so if the Lakers can win the battle inside, it should help them secure a victory on the road.
Lakers (1-2) vs. Spurs (1-2)
5:30 p.m. PT, Oct. 26, 2021
AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Russell Westbrook
SG: Malik Monk
SF: Kent Bazemore
PF: Anthony Davis
C: DeAndre Jordan
Key Reserves: Carmelo Anthony, Avery Bradley, Dwight Howard, Rajon Rondo, Austin Reaves
Projected Spurs Starting Lineup:
PG: Dejounte Murray
SG: Derrick White
SF: Doug McDermott
PF: Keldon Johnson
C: Jakob Poeltl
Key Reserves: Lonnie Walker IV, Devin Vassell, Drew Eubanks, Bryn Forbes
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!