LAL at GSW, Preseason No. 3, Three Things to Know
The Lakers are set to take on the Warriors in their third preseason game of the 2021-22 season, with tipoff scheduled for 7 p.m. on Spectrum SportsNet.
Below are three things to know ahead of the action:
LEBRON + RUSS?
After two games in street clothes, LeBron James and Russell Westbrook remain a question mark to play against the Warriors in San Francisco. The Lakers expectedly missed their two primary creators in losses to Brooklyn and Phoenix, and their inclusion will help in many different ways.
Frank Vogel said after the game at Phoenix that he’s planning on putting LeBron and Russ in for at least two of the four remaining games. When they’re on the floor, he’ll be able to better evaluate which players fit best next to LeBron and Russ, and therefore get the best idea of what his starting lineup and rotation will look like when the regular season starts.
Meanwhile, we’ll see if the Warriors again play Steph Curry and Draymond Green, both of whom have seen action in GSW’s first two preseason games.
In 11 days, these two teams will face off in a game that matters, the NBA’s season-opening Western showdown, as Steph Curry and friends travel down to Staples Center. As such, it’ll be interesting to see how much Vogel and Warriors coach Steve Kerr try to simulate their rotations, and even their starting lineups. Golden State may decide the want to go small with Draymond Green at center, but will they save that for opening night? Or will they plan to go a bit bigger?
Meanwhile, will Anthony Davis start at the four, like in preseason Game No. 1, or the five, like Game No. 2? One thing we know: Klay Thompson won’t be ready to play until at least December, as he continues to recover from Achilles surgery last winter. Andrew Wiggins is expected to miss the game with knee soreness, while Jordan Poole has looked good in GSW's first two preseason games in Klay's place.
The Lakers have been a solid rebounding team the last two seasons, ranking 11th in 2019-20, and 10th in 2020-21. Against Phoenix, while starting a small lineup, they were out-rebounded 52-40. How much of that had to do with the absence of LeBron and Westbrook? Some, of course. Those two All-Stars are always going to be amongst the biggest and strongest at their positions. Both average more than seven boards per game for their careers, so their presence alone should help shore up the glass.
Nonetheless, L.A.’s coaching staff will want more attention to detail on the defensive glass especially, as the Suns were able to grab 12 offensive boards on Wednesday afternoon, even if the Warriors ranked last on the O glass in 2020-21 (8.0 per game).
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