I’m going to keep this brief because it is hard to write and think clearly while in a food coma for nearly a full 24 hours. Those extra pieces of pie then cheesecake then going back for more honey baked ham seemed like a good idea at the time. It really did.
I wish I could say the Lakers are doing better than I am, but that doesn’t actually seem to be the case.
Julius Randle (hip pointer) and Nick Young (sprained toe) are doubtful to play tonight.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) November 25, 2016
At shootaround today, Randle apparently tried to run but his hip tightened up on him. Young, meanwhile, sat out the session in order to receive treatment on his toe. Considering the Lakers are already without D’Angelo Russell, if neither Young nor Randle play the team will be without 3 starters and their vaunted depth pretty much evaporates.
Further, in the starting lineup, Russell, Randle, and Young are the only ones who consistently can create shots for themselves and teammates. So losing them not only matters from a depth standpoint, but from a crucial skill set area as well. The Lakers will now only have Lou and Clarkson (and, somewhat, Ingram) as shot creators, which is bad any night, but even worse when facing the Warriors — a team who already has a good sense of the Lakers’ schemes and where individual shot creation can be even more important to beating the opposition’s understanding.
What does this mean for tonight, then? Well, probably about the same as it meant on Tuesday when the Lakers were thrashed in Oakland. That game saw the Warriors pick apart a struggling Lakers’ defense and then take advantage of some sloppy play to get even easier baskets in transition than the ones they were getting in the half court. Maybe it might be a bit much to predict the Warriors score nearly 150 points in regulation again tonight, but I wouldn’t put it past them — especially if their outside shots are falling.
From the Lakers’ perspective, this is just a bad time to be banged up and they’re going to suffer for it. This rough part of the schedule was always going to be difficult, but facing this gauntlet without several key players makes it near impossible to get wins. Sure, they can battle and play hard, but this is still a talent league and you cannot be down two of your best players and expect to have things go smoothly. At least not when your team is as young as the Lakers are.
Ultimately, then, I do not see things going well tonight. As much as I would like to say tonight is a “revenge” game for the Lakers and, while playing at home, they’ll really be ready to get after the Warriors, the discrepancy in talent how how injuries can deflate a team matter more here. I think they’re just going to have to take their lumps in this one.
Where you can watch: 7:30pm start time on Spectrum Sportsnet and NBA TV.