The Los Angeles Lakers continue with season with their third straight home game as No. 1 overall pick Anthony Edwards from the 2020 NBA Draft and the Minnesota Timberwolves visit Staples Center.
Through two games, the Lakers offense has not been an issue. LeBron James and Anthony Davis have led the team to 123.5 points per game on a remarkable 51.7% from the field.
However, it’s their defense — L.A.’s calling card from last season — that has been porous. The Lakers have allowed 115 and 116 points, respectively, in their first two games. At times, they’ve looked like the 2019-20 Lakers defensively with their ability to switch everything and protect the rim.
But it’s clear things are still being adjusted to match the new personnel. Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell have fit seamlessly into the rotation, both taking their roles in stride. Harrell is continuing his Sixth Man role from his time with the L.A. Clippers, while Schroder has returned to being a starter, and both have been exactly as advertised.
The four-man combination of James, Davis, Harrell and Schroder are averaging a combined 80.5 points per game. What’s even more unheard of is their combined field goal percentage, which is 54.5% as a group.
L.A. will be without Davis because of a right calf contusion, but their offense still should be able to find success against a Timberwolves team that doesn’t have elite defensive talent. But this will be a chance for the Lakers defense to get right against a young team.
Beyond the No. 1 pick in Edwards, the Timberwolves are lead by former No. 1 pick in Karl Anthony Towns and former Lakers guard D’Angelo Russell. Add in Malik Beasley, and the Timberwolves have a proven young core that might be able to contend for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Because the Timberwolves likely want to prove that they can contend in a difficult conference, there’s no doubt that they will give the Lakers everything they’ve got. L.A. has to be prepared to face every team’s best shot night in and night out.
If they can avoid a slow start, the Lakers should have no issue improving to 2-1 on the season. This will also be a chance for fans to see the Lakers debut of their classic jerseys, a tribute to the Jerry West-led teams of the 1960s.
Lakers (1-1) vs. Timberwolves (2-0)
7:00 p.m. PT, Dec. 27, 2020
Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
TV: NBATV, Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: LeBron James
SG: Dennis Schroder
SF: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
PF: Markieff Morris
C: Marc Gasol
Key Reserves: Montrezl Harrell, Kyle Kuzma, Wesley Matthews, Alex Caruso, Talen Horton-Tucker
Projected Timberwolves Starting Lineup:
PG: Ricky Rubio
SG: D’Angelo Russell
SF: Malik Beasley
PF: Anthony Edwards
C: Karl Anthony Towns
Key Reserves: Josh Okogie, Jake Layman, Jarrett Culver, Naz Reid, Juan Hernangomez
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