Lakers Vs. Wizards Preview: Markieff Morris Returning, LeBron James Out
Markieff Morris, Lakers
Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers look to close out their exhibition schedule on a high note when they play the Washington Wizards on Monday.

However, they will do so without the services of Anthony Davis (eye), Dwight Howard (knee soreness), LeBron James (rest) and Kyle Kuzma (mild ankle sprain). Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said Davis is still experiencing “some discomfort” after being poked in the eye over the weekend.

Davis sustained the injury, which is considered minor, in the first quarter on Saturday and did not return. “Basically all they’re reporting to me is it’s in terms of light and whatnot,” Vogel added. “He should be fine, probably would be available to play, but I was going to hold him out anyway. With the eye injury we decided to follow through with that.”

Davis was en route to a monster game as he had 9 points and 10 rebounds before he was forced to exit.

Alex Caruso made his Orlando debut after missing the first scrimmage game against the Dallas Mavericks due to a back contusion. However, he was unable to make much of an impact as he fouled out of the game, finishing with three points and two assists in just under 12 minutes of action.

Caruso is among the players Vogel intends to give significant minutes to on Monday. “It’s going to be a great opportunity to further evaluate Kostas Antetokounmpo, Devontae Cacok and Talen Horton-Tukcer,” Vogel said.

“Those guys will get extended minutes today. Once we get to the seeding games, we might not have as much of an opportunity to do that. Also, Dion and JR. Guys that have not played a lot of basketball for the last year or more. They have an opportunity to get extended minutes, which is going to be good for them.

“Danny Green and JaVale, I’m probably going to shut down at halftime. Alex Caruso missed the first game, foul trouble last game, so we’ll try to get him some healthy minutes to get his rhythm going. Just try to build our habits and win a game.”

On the other side, the Wizards have dropped both their scrimmage games against the Denver Nuggets and L.A. Clippers. The team is without Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans who both opted to sit out the season restart, meaning Washington will likely be using these games as a way to develop their young players.

Rui Hachimura and Isaac Bonba will be players to watch as both have put together impressive showings in the bubble. While the Wizards are probably going to miss the postseason due to the five-and-a-half game deficit in the standings, they have put together a solid young core and should be a fun team to watch next season.

Markieff Morris makes debut

Late arrival to the NBA bubble, Markieff Morris is expected to make his debut in scrimmage play. However, it will only come in the form of five or six minutes in the first quarter.

“It’s tough to get him some real conditioning without having a lot of practice time,” Vogel explained. He previously outlined a cautious plan with building Morris up in advance of seeding games and the playoffs.

Los Angeles Lakers (49-14) vs. washington Wizards (24-40)

12:00 p.m. PT, July 27, 2020
HP Field House, Orlando, Florida
TV: NBATV, Spectrum SportsNet

Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:

PG: Alex Caruso
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF: Danny Green
PF: Kostas Antetokounmpo
C: JaVale McGee

Key Reserves: Markieff Morris, JR Smith, Dion Waiters

Projected Magic Starting Lineup:

PG: Shabazz Napier
SG: Jerome Robinson
SF: Isaac Bonga
PF: Rui Hachimura
C: Thomas Bryant

Key Reserves: Jerian Grant, Admiral Schofield, Ish Smith

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