Lakers Vs. Spurs Preview: LeBron James Remains Out With Adductor Strain
Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers have a chance to extend their winning streak to three games when they host the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday.

L.A. seems to be turning things around, particularly on the offensive end. After shooting woes earned the Purple and Gold one of the worst records in the NBA following a difficult first month of games, they have been shooting 48.9% from the field and 36.7% for 3 over the last five games with Anthony Davis, Lonnie Walker IV, Austin Reaves and Russell Westbrook’s form surging.

The four players are set to play main roles for the Lakers again as LeBron James is expected to miss his fourth straight matchup with an adductor strain. Juan Toscano-Anderson is also out due to mid-back soreness, just like Max Christie after the rookie was placed in the health and safety protocols earlier this week.

The Spurs will be without Jakob Poeltl, Zach Collins, Devin Vassell, Blake Wesley, and Romeo Langford.

The Spurs have been trending downwards since a surprise 5-2 start to the season, losing nine of their last 10 games. But they have already managed to upset the likes of the Philadelphia 76ers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Milwaukee Bucks, which should make the Lakers cautious ahead of the Sunday clash.

San Antonio typically likes to operate in the paint with Poeltl and Charles Bassey, who can dominate the glass with the support from athletic wings Keldon Johnson and rookie Jeremy Sochan. That makes the loss of Poeltl particularly big, especially in a matchup against Davis.

The Spurs rank top 10 in offensive rebounding as well as points in the paint, making rim protection one of the factors that will likely determine the outcome of the game.

Luckily for L.A., San Antonio fares nowhere near as well in its own lane, allowing the second-most points in the paint (22.6). That should allow Davis to put in another monster performance with the 29-year-old forward averaging 37.5 points, 17 rebounds and two blocks over the last two games.

But Davis will need some support from his supporting cast on both ends of the floor. Westbrook, Reaves, Walker and other role players should focus on boxing out to prevent the Spurs’ from dominating the glass. And on the offensive side of the ball, L.A. needs to take their chances from 3-point range, particularly as the Spurs’ perimeter defense ranks last in the NBA.

The Lakers seem well-positioned to win the game — if they match the young visitor team’s energy on Sunday. Hopefully for L.A., the prospects of chalking up the first three-game winning streak of the season will provide the Purple and Gold with enough motivation to leave everything on the court and snatch another win.

Los Angeles Lakers (4-10) vs. San Antonio Spurs (6-11)

6:30 p.m. PT, November 20, 2022 Arena
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA

Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:

PG: Patrick Beverley
SG: Lonnie Walker IV
SF: Austin Reaves
PF: Troy Brown Jr.
C: Anthony Davis

Key Reserves: Russell Westbrook, Kendrick Nunn, Thomas Bryant, Dennis Schroder, Wenyen Gabriel, Matt Ryan

Projected Spurs Starting Lineup:

PG: Tre Jones
SG: Devin Vassell
SF: Keldon Johnson
PF: Jeremy Sochan
C: Gorgui Dieng

Key Reserves: Keita Bates-Diop, Doug McDermott, Josh Richardson, Isaiah Roby, Charles Bassey

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