Here is what you need to know before the Lakers take on the Denver Nuggets in a preseason exhibition.
The Lakers are looking to build upon their last game — a 103-84 victory over Sacramento in the preseason opener. Tarik Black sparked the victory with 15 points and a pair of critical and-1s during the Lakers’ 14-0 run to start the fourth quarter, but now the team will look for more energy from its starters who fell behind by 13 at halftime.
Head coach Luke Walton surprised many by starting Lou Williams at shooting guard on Tuesday in place of Jordan Clarkson, who started each of his last 117 games. Clarkson said at Wednesday’s practice that “it doesn’t matter” to him.
“As long as I’m on the court, playing minutes, I’m going to impact the game someway — if that’s defensively or offensively,” he said. “I’m always going to be aggressive on both ends of the floor. That’s where I’m going to make my mark.”
The Lakers will make their first appearance at Staples Center of the season, having played Tuesday’s contest in Anaheim. The last time the Lakers were in their home arena, Kobe Bryant supplied one of the greatest moments in his career, scoring 60 points and leading Los Angeles to a comeback victory in his final game.
The Lakers moved into the post-Bryant era by drafting second-overall pick Brandon Ingram, while the Nuggets also added a talented youngster in the No. 7 selection, Jamal Murray. While Ingram missed all five of his shots in his preseason debut, the sharpshooting Murray looked comfortable against Toronto, scoring nine points in 17 minutes on a 3-of-5 clip.
The Nuggets and Lakers have eerily similar young cores, beginning with Ingram and Murray as rookie wing shooters. Last season, each team also added a franchise point guard in D’Angelo Russell and Emmanuel Mudiay. Finally, both have a pair of promising big men — Julius Randle and Larry Nance Jr., plus Denver’s Nikola Jokic and Jusuf Nurkic — and a recently-added head coach trying to put it all together (Walton and Michael Malone).
Tip-off: 7:30 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet and Spectrum Deportes in L.A. NBA TV everywhere else.
Radio: 710 ESPN and 1330 KWKW