The Los Angeles Lakers will be without LeBron James as they take on the Golden State Warriors to begin a three-game road trip.
Following the Warriors game, the Lakers will take on the Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans in a back-to-back situation. But first, they’ll face the team with the NBA’s worst record, who continue to be without their best players.
Stephen Curry is slated to return to the lineup as soon as March 1 but will be out against the Lakers. The Warriors have lost seven games in a row, which includes a loss to the Lakers prior to the 2020 NBA All-Star break and five double-digit losses. The worst of these being a 41-point loss to the Brooklyn Nets and a 30-point loss to the Houston Rockets.
The Warriors have been relying on a number of rookies and G-League level players and the results have shown that. Curry and Klay Thompson have been out all or most of the season, while Draymond Green has been in and out of the lineup.
The Lakers — on the other hand — will be without James. They have won seven consecutive games and will be putting that on the line without their best player. The most recent of these is a great win over Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans where James dropped 40 points and Alex Caruso continued his strong play in limited minutes.
While seemingly meaningless on the surface due to the opponent, these games are actually important when considering seeding. The Lakers currently hold a five-game lead atop the Western Conference, and ensuring wins against lesser opponents allows them to have a bigger cushion when the schedule gets tougher.
Following the road trip, the Lakers will endure an absolutely brutal eight-game stretch in which they will face the Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Clippers, Houston Rockets, Denver Nuggets, and Utah Jazz twice. Building up as big of a lead as possible prior to this is vital to guaranteeing the Lakers have homecourt advantage throughout the Western Conference.
The Lakers have had a tendency against bad teams to be lazy and force James and Anthony Davis to play significant minutes. Being without James only further stresses this issue. Hopefully, Davis and company can decide this one early enough to give the team’s best players some rest heading into a road back-to-back.
Los Angeles Lakers (44-12) vs. Golden State Warriors (12-46)
7:30 P.M. PT, Feb. 26, 2020
Chase Center, San Francisco, California
TV: TNT, Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM (ESPN), 1330 KWKW (Spanish)
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Rajon Rondo
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Danny Green
PF: Anthony Davis
C: JaVale McGee
Key Reserves: Kyle Kuzma, Dwight Howard, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso, Markieff Morris
Projected Warriors Starting Lineup:
PG: Jordan Poole
SG: Damion Lee
SF: Andrew Wiggins
PF: Eric Paschall
C: Marquese Chriss
Key Reserves: Ky Bowman, Kevon Looney, Dragan Bender