(Photo By: Ty Nowell/Los Angeles Lakers)
3 Things to Know: Lakers vs. Spurs (10/22/18)
Here is what you need to know before the Lakers host the San Antonio Spurs.
1) L.A. will be without Ingram and Rondo’s services
Following Saturday’s on-court altercation, Brandon Ingram and Rajon Rondo have been suspended for four and three games, respectively.
Losing both starters will be tough for the Lakers. Through two games, Ingram had averaged 14.0 points while making more than half of his shots, while Rondo’s 13.0 points and 10.5 assists made for an excellent beginning to his L.A. tenure.
Lonzo Ball, who has been playing on a minutes restriction, will likely be given full rein as starting point guard. His defense, rebounding and shooting has been valuable, with averages of 10.5 points, 5.0 boards and a 5-of-12 clip on 3-pointers (as opponents have unsuccessfully dared him to shoot).
Meanwhile, Josh Hart (15.5 points on 52.0 percent shooting) is likely to fill Ingram’s role on the wing, though Kyle Kuzma (more on him in a second) is also a candidate to start.
So far, coach Luke Walton has played a nine-man rotation, which means two additional players could start seeing minutes in this game. Candidates include Michael Beasley, Ivica Zubac, Svi Mykhailiuk and Johnathan Williams.
The squad's depth will be tested this week.https://t.co/8quAX8G74X— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) October 22, 2018
2) Keep an eye on the big-man rotation
While Rondo and Ingram leave holes at point guard and small forward, the Lakers’ center rotation could still be the most interesting part of the roster.
Starter JaVale McGee has built off a successful preseason by averaging 14.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.0 blocks and shooting 12-of-17 from the field.
Meanwhile, if Zubac or Williams plays, that would cut into the Lakers’ small-ball lineups they have leaned on so far.
LeBron James saw his first minutes at center on Saturday, matching up against the Rockets’ untraditional lineup that had P.J. Tucker at the five. James has been, predictably, the Lakers’ best player thus far, averaging 25.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists.
Still, Kyle Kuzma has seen the majority of the Lakers’ backup center minutes. The natural power forward remains green when it comes to guarding the five-spot, and Houston targeted him constantly, to varying results.
James Harden & Chris Paul were last year's top isolation scorers & they went after Kyle Kuzma.— Joey Ramirez (@JoeyARamirez) October 21, 2018
5 makes, 4 misses, 3 fouls, 2 blocks
Luke Walton: "He's gotta take it personal, which I think he does. He texted me as soon as the game was over & said, 'That'll never happen again.'" pic.twitter.com/LAwGxZo1Y2
3) The new-look Spurs have plenty of talent
Besides LeBron’s arrival in L.A., the biggest move of the offseason was likely San Antonio trading Kawhi Leonard to Toronto.
While the Spurs may have lost a potential MVP candidate, they still boast two Second Team All-NBA selections: DeMar DeRozan and LaMarcus Aldridge.
One of the league’s best slashers and mid-range artists, DeRozan has shouldered his team’s offense in its first two games, averaging 28.0 points on an efficient 48.8 percent clip.
Meanwhile, Aldridge — usually a walking bucket in the post and mid-range — has struggled with his shot thus far (36.1 percent), but has been a beast on the boards, averaging 13.5 rebounds, including a towering 6.5 on the offensive glass.
San Antonio’s season took a huge hit early on when stud point guard Dejounte Murray tore his ACL. However, new starter Bryn Forbes is one of the most underrated 3-point shooters in the league.
Lakers: Brandon Ingram (suspension), Rajon Rondo (suspension) and Moe Wagner (left knee contusion) are out.
Spurs: Dejounte Murray (right ACL), Lonnie Walker IV (right medial meniscus) and Derrick White (left heel pain) are out.
Tip-Off: 7:30 p.m. PT
TV: Spectrum SportsNet in L.A. NBA TV nationally
Radio: 710 ESPN and 1330 KWKW
Unis: Gold Icon
Location: STAPLES Center — Los Angeles, California
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