Lakers Vs. Timberwolves Preview: Anthony Davis Out With Low Back Tightness
Anthony Davis, Lakers
Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers continue their road trip Friday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Last season, the Timberwolves defeated the Lakers three out of the four matchups.

The Lakers have often struggled on the road against Minnesota, winning one of their last 10 at Target Center. The last time L.A. had a winning streak in Minnesota was the 2014-15 season.

L.A. has not started 0-5 in a season since the 2014, Kobe Bryant’s second to last year. Bragging rights are also on the line for LeBron James, whose rookie year is the only time he has started a season with five straight losses.

However, as usual, a bigger story of the night surrounds the Lakers’ injuries as Anthony Davis has been ruled out due to low back tightness. This marks the first game Davis has missed this season, playing through the back injury in the first four games.

The Lakers are also still without Dennis Schroder and Thomas Bryant due to their respective thumb injuries, while Juan Toscano-Anderson is sitting out against Minnesota due to an ankle sprain.

On the other hand, Russell Westbrook is playing despite missing the last game with a hamstring injury. The expectation is that he would come off the bench and that is indeed the case.

Westbrook has started 1,004 of his 1,021 career games and has not come off the bench since the first 17 games of his career. He did, however, in the final game of the preseason before suffering the hamstring injury. Westbrook cited his injury to not having his normal routine as a starter.

Having the guard run the second unit can offer a much-needed boost so it will be interesting to see how it works out for the Lakers.

That means the Lakers’ starting lineup consists of James, Damian Jones, Troy Brown Jr., Patrick Beverly and Lonnie Walker IV. It’s revenge night for Beverly, who was surprisingly traded from Minnesota in the offseason.

Jones has played just 8.3 minutes per game in three games but with Rudy Gobert and Karl Anthony-Towns in the frontcourt, it’s logical for Darvin Ham to go big. Towns hasn’t had his usual production yet, averaging just 20.4 points per game, and Gobert is averaging more rebounds (14.0) than points (13.6) per game.

Minnesota’s backcourt is arguably a tougher matchup though.

Anthony Edwards continues his ascension as one of the best young guards in the league. He is a lot to handle with his explosive first step and improving shot. Familiar face D’Angelo Russell complements Edwards in a more playmaking role.

Los Angeles Lakers (0-4) @ Minnesota Timberwolves (3-2)
5 p.m. PT, October 28, 2022
Target Center
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA

Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:

PG: Patrick Beverley
SG: Lonnie Walker IV
SF: Troy Brown Jr.
PF: LeBron James
C: Damian Jones

Key Reserves: Russell Westbrook, Austin Reaves, Kendrick Nunn, Wenyen Gabriel, Matt Ryan

Projected Timberwolves Starting Lineup:

PG: D’Angelo Russell
SG: Anthony Edwards
SF: Jaden McDaniels
PF: Karl-Anthony Toens
C: Rudy Gobert

Key Reserves: Taurean Prince, Naz Reid, Jordan McLaughlin, Jaylen Nowell

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