Two troubled teams will meet on Saturday night when the Los Angeles Lakers host the Golden State Warriors.
Over the last three weeks, L.A. has recorded the third-worst record (1-5) in the NBA while Golden State is tied for the fourth-worst with 2-5. The Lakers have won just six games in their last 22, allowing the 10th-placed New Orleans Pelicans to come just 1.0 games behind them.
Avery Bradley is making his return against the Warriors after missing the last five games with knee soreness. Due to a similar issue, Talen Horton-Tucker was a late scratch ahead of the recent loss to the L.A. Clippers, although he is also back in the lineup.
Golden State will play without Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala, and James Wiseman. Damion Lee’s status was determined right before tip-off, as he missed the last game with a quad injury, but he is expected to play.
The Lakers proved to be a tough matchup for the Warriors the last time they faced each other on Feb. 12. L.A. came from a double-digit deficit to take a lead late in the fourth quarter — but failed to stay ahead until the final buzzer, suffering a two-point loss in the end.
In the absence of Anthony Davis, L.A. will need a solid performance from Trevor Ariza, Weneyen Gabriel, Stanley Johnson, and Dwight Howard to prevent the Warriors from racking up second-chance points — which badly hurt the Lakers back in February.
The spotlight will also lay on Carmelo Anthony, who missed the previous clash with a hamstring injury. Still, the Lakers’ bench outscored the Warriors’ 42-20, playing a significant role in L.A.’s comeback.
Anthony’s presence should provide the Lakers’ second unit with a major boost on Saturday, as he’s been the NBA’s sixth-best scorer off the bench over the last three weeks, chipping in 16 points per game.
Above all, the Lakers should use their dire situation in the standings to out will the Warriors. Golden State still ranks second in the Western Conference despite their recent slump.
Meanwhile, L.A. could soon fall out of the West’s top-10 if they keep losing games at the current rate. Desperation can turn into a powerful weapon — and the Lakers are desperate to collect as many wins as possible before the end of the season.
Lakers (27-35) vs. Warriors (43-20)
5:30 p.m. PT, March 5, 2022
Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, California
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Russell Westbrook
SG: Malik Monk
SF: Austin Reaves
PF: Stanley Johnson
C: LeBron James
Key Reserves: Dwight Howard, Talen Horton-Tucker, Carmelo Anthony, D.J. Augustin, Trevor Ariza, Wenyen Gabriel
Projected Warriors Starting Lineup:
PG: Steph Curry
SG: Klay Thompson
SF: Andrew Wiggins
PF: Otto Porter Jr.
C: Kevon Looney
Key Reserves: Gary Payton II. Jordan Poole, Nemanja Bjelica, Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!