The Los Angeles Lakers will not have LeBron James or Russell Westbrook in the lineup for the second straight preseason game as the team heads to Arizona to take on the Phoenix Suns in an early afternoon matchup.
When it comes to preseason play, the storylines are often more about who isn’t playing over who is. Beyond James and Westbrook, Frank Vogel is also sitting one of his two centers, Dwight Howard, to get some rest. With that, he will get his first look of Anthony Davis at center.
What this also means is that Carmelo Anthony will play his first games in a Laker uniform this preseason, getting the start at power forward while the rest of the starting lineup is filled out by Kendrick Nunn, Talen Horton-Tucker and Wayne Ellington.
Trevor Ariza is also out for the second straight game as he continues to nurse a sore ankle, although it’s not believed to be a serious injury.
Because it’s the preseason, this can hardly be described as a first-round rematch between the Lakers and Suns. However, there is absolutely some leftover angst between these two teams. Hopefully, nothing too tumultuous happens in a game with no meaning, as the emotion from last season’s opening round should be saved for Friday, Oct. 22.
On the Suns’ side of things, they will be without Devin Booker, but figure to have the rest of the roster available. This means L.A. will see Deandre Ayton, Jae Crowder, Chris Paul and others.
For both of these teams, preseason is simply about experimenting with various rotations, getting young players a chance to show their development, and getting through every game healthy. With championship expectations for both sides, there’s no reason to show anything extra during this matchup.
Regardless, fans can hope for a better showing defensively than their last game against the Brooklyn Nets. Getting defensive chemistry is something that takes time, but it would be beneficial to show some sort of improvement from a few days ago.
Lakers (0-1) vs. Suns (0-1)
3:00 p.m. PT, Oct. 6, 2021
Footprint Center, Phoenix, Arizona
TV: NBATV, Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Talen Horton-Tucker
SG: Kendrick Nunn
SF: Wayne Ellington
PF: Carmelo Anthony
C: Anthony Davis
Key Reserves: DeAndre Jordan, Kent Bazemore, Malik Monk, Dwight Howard, Rajon Rondo, Austin Reaves
Projected Suns Starting Lineup:
PG: Chris Paul
SG: Cameron Johnson
SF: Mikal Bridges
PF: Jae Crowder
C: Deandre Ayton
Key Reserves: Cameron Payne, Landry Shamet, Frank Kaminsky, Elfrid Payton, JaVale McGee
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