After a successful 3-0 road trip, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the Los Angeles Lakers return home against the Minnesota Timberwolves before a five-game road trip.
Following a 114-100 loss to the Dallas Mavericks that ended their 10-game winning streak, there were concerns about the team’s December schedule against playoff teams.
However, the Lakers responded well and focused on what got them the best record in the league again: defense.
While there was slippage without Avery Bradley, Davis — who is the leading candidate for the 2019-20 NBA Defensive Player of the Year — set the tone despite flu-like symptoms.
Along with holding the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz to under 100 points in a back-to-back situation, Davis has found his rhythm offensively, highlighted by a 39-point performance against the Portland Trail Blazers.
As for the Timberwolves, they have come back down to earth now after a 4-1 start to the 2019-20 NBA season.
Despite three consecutive losses, the Lakers will have to focus on Karl-Anthony Towns. In 19 games, Towns is averaging 26.2 points and 11.9 rebounds in his fifth season.
While Towns has averaged a double-double throughout his young career, one aspect he has improved on is his three-point shooting (43.4 percent on 8.7 attempts per game).
As the Lakers should be able to extend their winning streak, opponents usually give them their best shot (especially from the three-point line), so they must continue defending at a high level before another stretch of road games.
Unfortunately, Rajon Rondo (hamstring) will not play.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
6:30 P.M. PT, Dec. 8, 2019
Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM (ESPN), 1330 KWKW (Spanish)
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: LeBron James
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF: Danny Green
PF: Anthony Davis
C: JaVale McGee
Key Reserves: Kyle Kuzma, Dwight Howard, Alex Caruso
Minnesota Timberwolves Starting Lineup:
PG: Jeff Teague
SG: Josh Okogie
SF: Jarrett Culver
PF: Robert Covington
C: Karl-Anthony Towns
Key Reserves: Jordan Bell, Keita Bates-Diop, Gorgui Dieng