As we told you Tuesday, the Lakers have good news and bad news regarding Wednesday’s game against the Thunder. Brandon Ingram will return to action after missing one game with a sprained ankle, but Lonzo Ball remains sidelined with a sprained knee.
Missing Lonzo hurts, especially against an OKC team which has such a good defense and an ability to explode offensively with their perimeter based attack. Lonzo helps on both those fronts, organizing the team’s sets and creating good shots for teammates on one end, defending well and hitting the glass hard on the other. But, alas, none of that can come to fruition this game and the team will be worse off for it.
What this means for tonight is…probably another loss. Can the Lakers be competitive? Yes. I expect KCP to guard Westbrook and for Ingram’s return to help when defending Paul George. Having Lopez to do battle with Stephen Adams on both ends and Randle to, potentially, be able to attack Melo in the paint (and potentially get him in foul trouble) can also aid in keeping the Lakers close. But, the simple talent comparison positions OKC very well to win this game — potentially doing so going away.
What I can say, though, is that even if the Lakers are expected to lose this game, I hope to see a competitive spirit that leads to a much better effort than what occurred the last time these teams played. In that game the Lakers, basically, quit. They lost by 37 points and Terrance Ferguson was put on his own personal dunk contest late in the game. It was an unacceptable level of effort from the Lakers and it should be on the front of the team’s mind when they face off this game.
Believe me, I understand the talent differential. And I understand that, in the NBA, players can get hot and turn a game from respectable to not in the span of a few minutes. But, it’s one thing to have a guy (or two) take over and quite another for an entire team to roll over. The Lakers did the latter when these teams played in Los Angeles. They need to fight harder this game.
If they do that, I’ll live with the results. Here’s to seeing the Lakers play hard and smart and letting the chips fall.
Where you can watch: 5pm start time on Spectrum Sportsnet and ESPN.