The Los Angeles Lakers have the opportunity to go a perfect 4-0 in preseason play as they conclude their exhibition schedule with a second consecutive road matchup against the Phoenix Suns.
They got an opportunity to see LeBron James and Anthony Davis in action on Wednesday, and while both had incredible moments, each certainly looked rusty after a shortened offseason. They played a combined 33 minutes in the first half only, scoring 21 points on 7-of-14 shooting.
Marc Gasol and Dennis Schroder also saw limited minutes, with both showing what they plan on bringing to the Lakers this season. Schroder was able to effectively run the offense, finishing with seven points, four rebounds and three assists before leaving the game with a mild ankle sprain.
The first half saw a nearly regular rotation — minus Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Alex Caruso — and the Lakers took advantage, leading 53-44 at halftime. The second half was all about the younger and more fringe rotation pieces. Kyle Kumza, Talen Horton-Tucker and Quinn Cook each had great games, scoring 23, 18, and 10 respectively.
The Suns played their full arsenal of players in the second half as well as the first, but L.A. was still able to grab a 112-107 victory.
On Friday, James and Davis will likely see the floor again in some capacity. However, with the regular season just a few days away, it’s likely major role players will see limited minutes simply for rhythm purposes.
The statuses of Schroder, Caldwell-Pope and Caruso remain up in the air, as all are dealing with minor injuries. While these injuries would rarely keep any of these players out of important games, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel may decide it’s not worth risking anything in preseason.
In order to ensure the Lakers have guards in the game, perhaps one or two of the aforementioned players will suit up. However, they may prefer to err on the side of caution and instead play Cook, Horton-Tucker and Wesley Matthews additional minutes.
Horton-Tucker will also have a chance to continue his lights-out preseason. Through three games, the second-year guard is averaging 23.3 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.7 steals.
As for the Suns, they’ll be looking for their first preseason win after the acquisition of Chris Paul. The trio of Paul, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton will certainly scare teams in the regular season, but it has not yet translated to a win in the early going.
Lakers (3-0) vs. Suns (0-3)
7:30 p.m. PT, Dec. 18, 2020
Phoenix Suns Arena, Phoenix, Arizona
TV: ESPN, Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: LeBron James
SG: Wesley Matthews
SF: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
PF: Anthony Davis
C: Marc Gasol
Key Reserves: Alex Caruso, Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Kuzma, Talen Horton-Tucker, Markieff Morris
Projected Suns Starting Lineup:
PG: Chris Paul
SG: Devin Booker
SF: Mikal Bridges
PF: Jae Crowder
C: Deandre Ayton
Key Reserves: Dario Saric, Mikal Bridges, Langston Galloway, Jevon Carter, Jalen Smith, E’Twaun Moore
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