After dropping back-to-back games since clinching the first seed in the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Lakers are looking to get back on track against the Indiana Pacers.
LeBron James will make his return to the lineup after a one-game absence, but he and Anthony Davis will not be joined by Danny Green, who is out due to hip soreness.
It is evident that head coach Frank Vogel is doing what he can to make it through the remaining seeding games as healthy as possible after sitting out James with groin soreness during the 113-97 loss to the Houston Rockets. To no surprise, the Lakers’ offense struggled mightily to establish their rhythm in a game that also saw Alex Caruso miss because of injury and JaVale McGee held out in favor of a small lineup.
Perhaps Saturday’s game off will give Green some more time to rest and find his rhythm again, as he is one of the Lakers who has struggled the mist to hit shots.
If L.A. plans to get back into the win column, they may need to go back to their big-heavy approach and get aggressive on the boards. Indiana was thoroughly dominated on the glass 53-38 overall and 12-5 on offensive rebounds during their 114-99 loss to the Phoenix Suns.
Regardless, the Pacers still have good reason to be confident after snapping the Lakers 14-game road winning streak in their last matchup back in December. Their talented frontcourt duo of Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner took full advantage of Davis’ absence by leading the way with a combined 42 points and 17 rebounds during the 105-102 thriller.
Although they may no longer have have Sabonis in the mix, Indiana has enjoyed quite the outburst from T.J. Warren, who is currently tied with Houston Rockets’ star James Harden for the most points per game since the 2019-20 NBA season restart (33.8).
Despite Warren’s emergence, Vogel is still hoping to secure his first win against his former team after going 0-8 thus far. Having a healthy Davis back in the lineup should certainly pay huge dividends in denying Indiana a chance at a series sweep over Los Angeles for the first time since the 2015-16 season.
Lakers (51-17) vs. Pacers (42-27)
3:00 p.m. PT, Aug. 8, 2020
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Orlando, Florida
TV: TNT, Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: ESPN L.A. 710
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: LeBron James
SG: Alex Caruso
SF: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
PF: Anthony Davis
C: JaVale McGee
Key Reserves: Kyle Kuzma, Dwight Howard, Markieff Morris, JR Smith
Projected Pacers Starting Lineup:
PG: Malcolm Brogdon
SG: Victor Oladipo
SF: Aaron Holiday
PF: T.J. Warren
C: Myles Turner
Key Reserves: Justin Holiday, T.J. McConnell, JaKarr Sampson
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