The Los Angeles Lakers look to start the New Year on the right foot with a win against the San Antonio Spurs in their second consecutive meeting.
As a part of the precautionary scheduling enforced by the NBA due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, teams will often play each other two games in a row to reduce travel. Because of that, this will be the Lakers second straight game against the Spurs, and they will follow this by playing another series against the Memphis Grizzlies to complete their road trip.
L.A. controlled the majority of the first meeting with the Spurs, leading to a 121-107 victory. In that game, LeBron James — who celebrated his 36th birthday — led the way for the Lakers with 26 points, five rebounds and eight assists.
James is listed as questionable for Friday’s game with a sore left ankle, but has played the last three games despite having that same status.
Alex Caruso will also miss his third straight game due to the league’s health and safety protocols.
As for the Spurs, there has not been a status update on LaMarcus Aldridge, who missed Wednesday’s game with a sore left knee. If he returns, that adds another layer of depth to the Spurs offense that L.A. struggled to contain.
The Lakers struggled stopping guards from scoring on the interior, with Dejounte Murray and DeMar DeRozan combining for 52 points. Both teams tied with 46 points in the paint, despite the Spurs missing their best interior scorer.
The focus for the Lakers on Friday will absolutely be shutting down the paint, as they begin to figure out ways to replicate last season’s rim protection despite the losses of JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard.
Meanwhile, the Lakers hope to continue their hot shooting offensively, as they seem to have fixed many of their offensive woes from last season. Wesley Matthews led the way in this department on Wednesday, going a perfect 6-of-6 from behind the arc.
The Lakers have their eyes set on repeating as NBA champions in 2021, and it starts by getting a win against a much less talented Spurs team on the first day of the year.
Lakers (3-2) vs. Spurs (2-2)
5:00 p.m. PT, Jan. 1, 2021
AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas
TV: NBATV, Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers starting lineup:
PG: LeBron James
SG: Dennis Schroder
SF: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
PF: Anthony Davis
C: Marc Gasol
Key Reserves: Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Kuzma, Wesley Matthews, Markieff Morris, Talen Horton-Tucker
Projected Spurs starting lineup:
PG: Dejounte Murray
SG: Lonnie Walker
SF: DeMar DeRozan
PF: Keldon Johnson
C: LaMarcus Aldridge
Key Reserves: Rudy Gay, Patty Mills, Jakob Poeltl, Drew Eubanks
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!