Spurs Vs. Lakers Preview: LeBron James Returns Against Victor Wembanyama In Second Game Of Back-To-Back
LeBron James, Lakers, Spurs
Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers didn’t get the victory to kick off the final stretch of the season that they would have hoped. But with LeBron James returning to the lineup on Friday, the team is looking to bounce back against phenom Victor Wembanyama and the San Antonio Spurs.

LeBron sat out the Lakers’ loss to the Golden State Warriors, so he is looking to come back in full force in his first game back post All-Star break. Like the Lakers, the Spurs are also coming off a loss on Thursday, falling to the Sacramento Kings.

Getting their leader back on the court is great for the Lakers and should help put the rest of the players back in their natural spots. Life is always much easier for the likes of D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura when they can play off LeBron and the attention he draws.

Anthony Davis being the best player on the court should also go a long way towards the Lakers success as well. He was excellent against the Warriors and dominated the Spurs in his lone appearance against them earlier this year. All eyes will be on the matchup between himself and Wembanyama and more often than not, Davis has risen to the occasion when matched up against other top bigs.

The Lakers also need a better performance from their bench. Jaxson Hayes was solid, but Max Christie, Spencer Dinwiddie and Taurean Prince, who will be back in a reserve role tonight, combined to shoot just 3-of-13 from deep.

Obviously Wembanyama is the player to watch on the Spurs and rightfully so as he is already a force on both ends of the court. The talented phenom is one of only four players in the league averaging double-digit rebounds and at least one block and one steal, joining Davis, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bam Adebayo.

He has also really come into his own offensively and can beat a team from anywhere, but he isn’t alone. Devin Vassell has been outstanding lately, averaging 23.4 points on 41.5% from 3-point range over the last 10 games and he torched the Lakers the last time these two teams met.

This is an ideal bounce back game for the Lakers after a tough loss in Golden State, but as has been proven this season, and against the Spurs, no game is a guarantee. With LeBron back in the lineup, the Lakers need to come out strong and take care of business but if they aren’t locked in, the Spurs are capable of making them pay.

Los Angeles Lakers (30-27) vs. San Antonio Spurs (11-45)

7:30 pm PT, Friday, February 23, 2024
Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, CA
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA

Projected Lakers starting lineup:

PG: D’Angelo Russell
SG: Austin Reaves
SF: LeBron James
PF: Rui Hachimura
C: Anthony Davis

Key Reserves: Spencer Dinwiddie, Jaxson Hayes, Taurean Prince, Max Christie

Projected Spurs starting lineup:

PG: Tre Jones
SG: Devin Vassell
SF: Julian Champagnie
PF: Jeremy Sochan
C: Victor Wembanyama

Key Reserves: Keldon Johnson, Zach Collins, Cedi Osman, Blake Wesley, Malaki Branham

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