The Los Angeles Lakers are squaring off with the Golden State Warriors at Chase Arena in one of L.A.’s last two games before the All-Star Weekend break.
Carmelo Anthony and Kendrick Nunn won’t be able to help the Lakers in the matchup against Steph Curry and Klay Thompson’s Warriors, as they are still ruled out with injuries.
However, Dwight Howard and Russell Westbrook should return to the lineup despite dealing with back problems recently.
Meanwhile, Golden State will be without Draymond Green and James Wiseman, while Andre Iguodala has a chance to come back from a back injury.
Serving as a sign of hope for the struggling Lakers, Curry is having an average season compared to his form in the previous campaign. But in the case of the two-time MVP, that still means he is averaging 25.7 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 6.4 assists, shooting 42.4% from the field and 38% from beyond the arc.
However, focus and consistency in defensive effort have impacted the sharpshooter’s efficiency along the perimeter on a few occasions this year — most recently in Thursday’s loss to the New York Knicks.
Even though Curry ended up with 35 points, he shot 5-for-16 from downtown and 11-for-25 overall, as the Warriors lost their second straight game.
They also struggled on the glass and presented New York with plenty of chances to score from the free throw line, showing weaknesses the Lakers could potentially exploit.
Especially, those weaknesses could provide Westbrook with an opportunity to bounce back from his recent slump. The 33-year-old guard is the most dangerous when he uses his explosiveness to drive into the paint with aggression and help his teammates collect rebounds on both ends of the floor.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis could also benefit from showing off some high-octane offense on Sunday. Without Green — the Warriors’ defensive anchor — Golden State’s defense has turned from the NBA’s best to slightly better than average.
If the Big 3 can apply enough pressure on the Warriors — showing some of the determination they have recently talked about — the Lakers might be in a good position to try and get back in the win column.
Lakers (26-30) vs. Warriors (41-15)
5:30 p.m. PT, Feb. 12, 2022
Chase Center, San Francisco, California
TV: ABC/ESPN, Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Russell Westbrook
SG: Malik Monk
SF: Stanley Johnson
PF: LeBron James
C: Anthony Davis
Key Reserves: Talen Horton-Tucker, Austin Reaves, Trevor Ariza, Wayne Ellington, Dwight Howard, Avery Bradley
Projected Trail Blazers Starting Lineup:
PG: Steph Curry
SG: Klay Thompson
SF: Andrew Wiggins
PF: Jonathan Kuminga
C: Kevon Looney
Key Reserves: Nemanja Bjelica, Jordan Poole, Damion Lee, Gary Payton II