The Los Angeles Lakers are hoping to stay in the win column after already securing the top seed in the Western Conference heading into their matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Anthony Davis is coming off a dominant 42-point, 12-rebound performance that saw him join some elite company as the first Laker since Kobe Bryant to score at least 20 points in the first half of 20 games in a single season.
Los Angeles certainly has good reason to be confident that they can secure a season sweep over Oklahoma City already defeating them three times before. Regardless, they will still need to proceed with caution considering two of those games were decided by five points or less.
The Thunder have easily been one of the most surprising teams of the year as they now stand at 41-25 after splitting their first two seeding games of the NBA restart. Despite losing their opportunity to potentially climb into the fourth seed last game, their sights are still set on gaining the most favorable playoff position possible.
Oklahoma City will be shorthanded with Dennis Schroder out indefinitely, Mike Muscala out with a concussion, and Terrance Ferguson listed as doubtful. This means the backcourt for L.A. could be spared from having to take on their potent three-guard lineup of Gilgeous-Alexander, Chris Paul and Schroder.
Regardless, the Lakers will still need to put an emphasis on containing Gilgeous-Alexander. He enters the game averaging 19.4 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game. He scored 21.3 points per game and shot 41.7 percent from three-point range during the three regular season meetings.
Fortunately, Davis has proven to be quite the kryptonite for the Thunder after scoring a combined 67 points in two games against them. His emphasis on maintaining an aggressive approach combined with the opposition’s depleted forces should lead to another big night for him and the Lakers.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel has indicated he intends to continue playing regulars their usual minutes, at now for least. Though, Dwight Howard is out due to right knee soreness. Vogel hopes he will return against the Rockets.
Lakers (51-15) vs. Jazz (41-25)
3:30 p.m. PT, Aug. 4, 2020
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Orlando, Florida
TV: ESPN, Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: ESPN L.A. 710
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: LeBron James
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF: Danny Green
PF: Anthony Davis
C: JaVale McGee
Key Reserves: Kyle Kuzma, Alex Caruso, Dion Waiters, Markieff Morris, JR Smith
Projected Thunder Starting Lineup:
PG: Chris Paul
SG: Luguentz Dort
SF: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
PF: Danilo Gallinari
C: Steven Adams
Key Reserves: Hamidou Diallo, Darius Bazley
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