The Los Angeles Lakers continue their five-game homestand on Monday night, hosting the Oklahoma City Thunder as they look to win their fifth straight game. The meeting is the first of two consecutive games the Lakers and Thunder will play at Staples Center.
The Thunder were expected to be a rebuilding team this season after trading most of their key players. They have actually been very competitive though, coming in at 10-12 with a chance to remain in the playoff mix with a victory.
This marks the second meeting this season between the two teams, with the Lakers cruising to a 128-99 victory in Oklahoma City on Jan. 13.
Unfortunately for the Lakers, this will be without star forward Anthony Davis in this one as he missed his fourth game of the season due to injury. Davis is dealing with Achilles tendonosis, although it is not believed to be anything too serious.
As has been the case when Davis has missed games, Kyle Kuzma should get the start in his place. Kuzma has improved his play on both sides of the ball in recent weeks and comes in shooting a career-high 39.3% from 3 on the season.
The biggest challenge for the Lakers defensively is containing Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who has taken another leap in his third NBA season. Gilgeous-Alexander is making his case to be named an All-Star next month, averaging 22.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 6.4 assists while shooting 51.5% from the field and 37.2% behind the arc.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel has shrunk his rotation as of late, often leaving Markieff Morris and Wesley Matthews as the odd men out. With Davis missing this game, it will be interesting to see who gets increased minutes to replace him.
In addition to Davis, Lakers guard Alex Caruso is also listed as questionable with a left hand strain.
Lakers (18-6) vs. Thunder (10-12)
7:00 p.m. PT, February 8, 2021
Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers starting lineup:
PG: LeBron James
SG: Dennis Schröder
SF: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
PF: Kyle Kuzma
C: Marc Gasol
Key Reserves: Montrezzl Harrel, Alex Caruso, Wesley Matthews, Talen Horton-Tucker, Markieff Morris
Projected Thunder starting lineup:
PG: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
SG: Theo Meladon
SF: Lugentz Dort
PF: Darius Bazley
C: Al Horford
Key Reserves: Kenrich Williams, Hamidou Diallo, Justin Jackson, Mike Muscala, Darius Miller
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