Archives For Game Preview

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It is the final Lakers preseason game before the regular season starts. If we’re tracking news, Lonzo Ball is out and Andrew Bogut is too — which should not be a surprise considering we were told this exact thing could happen. And, honestly, this is what I would have done too if the decision was up to me.

Look, I wish Lonzo could have played more this preseason. The Lakers need him; they depend on him. The fact that he didn’t play a single minute with Brook Lopez in an actual game situation isn’t ideal. The fact that, despite playing well in summer league, Lonzo hasn’t gotten much floor time to find his stride against better players is not good either. But, there’s nothing to do about that now. He’s out this game and will be thrown into the fire next week when the games “count”.

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After earning their first win of the preseason on Sunday against the Kings in Las Vegas, the Lakers are back in Los Angeles tonight to face off against the Utah Jazz. This is truly the “home stretch” of preseason, with only two games remaining before the regular season starts.

In saying that, I’d imagine the coaches are going to want to play things a bit more “straight” when it comes to lineups, personnel groupings, and rotations, some of which is evidenced by the team waiving VJ Beachem and Stephen Zimmerman on Monday. So, it could be noteworthy that the starting lineup for tonight’s game is unchanged from the one against the Kings:

Nance, of course, replaces Randle with the first 5. He’ll lineup with Ennis (I think), KCP, Ingram, and Lopez. Lonzo Ball remains out with his ankle injury. Andrew Bogut remains out with his strained groin.

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After not playing since Wednesday — a tough loss to the Nuggets that had Luke Walton questioning the team’s effort — the Lakers preseason continues against the Sacramento Kings. The game will take place in Las Vegas and the proceeds from this game will actually be donated through the MGM Resorts Foundation to benefit the victims, their families, and first responders related to the tragic shooting that took place last week in Las Vegas.

That’s a somber note, I know, but I’m glad the Lakers, Kings, the NBA, and their business partners are doing something to help. Nothing can bring the lives lost back and the pain those people feel — to say nothing of those who are injured and live on dealing with the aftermath of having this happen to them — but doing something where you can should be applauded.

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After losing to the Nuggets 113-107 on Monday night, the Lakers are out for revenge when the teams rematch tonight. A win would be the first of the Lakers preseason, but Denver showed their firepower and ability to run away with the game after a tight first quarter on Monday. Can tonight be any different?
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After a 108-99 loss to the Timberwolves on Saturday, the Lakers are back in action today against the Denver Nuggets. Saturday’s game offered some positive notes, but also countless things to work on and improve. This, of course, is totally expected. A shortened training camp combined with Saturday being the first game action most of these guys have had since last season will always prompt a certain amount of sloppiness and lack of polish.

Against the Nuggets, then, what I’m looking for is a focus inward rather than anything specific about the opponent. At today’s media availability, Brandon Ingram noted that is exactly what coach Luke Walton wants saying, “Our message after the game was to come in here and get better. Luke touched on how we can come in here try to get a little bit better every single day at what we do. And I think we came in here and just had a one track mind to focus on ourselves.”

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Lakers basketball is back! Or, at least, there’s a Lakers preseason game. Baby steps, you guys. Honestly, I’ll take whatever version of Lakers basketball you want to give me, though.

After 4 days of training camp and a couple of scrimmages, the team is surely ready to face off against someone besides themselves and the Wolves will do just fine. The talk of camp to this point has been the team trying to improve defensively, sharpening their transition and early offense, and how Lonzo Ball can’t seem to lose when the team is scrimmaging. How all this translates tonight against Minnesota remains to be seen, but I’m excited to see it.

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While I was looking forward to a couple of former Dukies doing battle tonight, Brandon Ingram being ruled out for the rest of summer league means that we won’t get to see him match up with Jayson Tatum — another smooth scoring SF who went number 3 overall in last month’s draft.

Instead, then, we’ll get to see how Tatum and last year’s #3 overall pick, Jaylen Brown, go up against Lonzo Ball. Ball will look to bounce back from a bad shooting night on Friday where he want 2-15 from the field for 5 points. Ball’s shooting distracted from some of the other good things he did offensively, where he ran the offense well, showed very good floor awareness, and mostly made good shot/pass decisions.

It will be a learning process for Ball, a 19 year old who has a unique approach to playing PG in comparison to what is widely viewed as the standard for lead guards in today’s NBA. How Ball adjusts to those norms and how he beats them back with his own game is one of the more intriguing storylines of every contest he appears in. It’s certainly something I’ll be watching for over the course of the summer as he gets more comfortable with the pace of NBA basketball.

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I’m going to keep this short and sweet. Tonight is the Lakers’ final game of the season. And while there is a lot to discuss about how this season went compared to expectations and what we wanted, there will be plenty of time for all of that. The postmortem on this season will take some time write and to digest, and this is neither the time nor the format.

What I will say is, that whatever this season was for you and whether you enjoyed it or not, it’s now basically over. There will be no more Lakers games to cheer for or scream at, to be happy about or disappointed in. The playoffs will start soon and that offers it’s own level of excitement and intrigue for basketball fans, but having the Lakers missing from the 2nd season for the 4th straight year (even though that was to be expected before the season), is just another reminder of the growth and improvement still needed. Again, though, this is another topic for another day.

The Lakers are looking to close their season on a winning note, though. Winners of 5 straight, the team is playing with and for each other for longer stretches. They’re making winning plays down the stretch on both ends of the floor. And while it’s easy to point to the flukiness of this part of the year or the specific motives of the opponents in each contest, I like that the Lakers are not only playing well enough to win, but doing those extra things needed to close out games. Whether this impacts them in May’s lottery remains to be seen, but I’m going to enjoy this stretch anyway.

Lastly, thanks to all of you who visit the site every day and read what we do here. This site is nearly 13 years old and I’ve been running it since the team’s run to the championship in 2010 (while being a contributor for years before that). This site means something to me and being able to do this and have folks join me every day, be it by reading our analysis or jumping into the comments section, is special. So, again, thank you for being a part of that.

Now, enjoy tonight’s game as best you can. And since the team is locked into “3rd”, why not cheer them on to end the season with six straight W’s.

Where you can watch: 7:30pm start time on Spectrum Sportsnet.