The Lakers played a preseason game in China on Saturday. They lost. Anthony Davis hurt his thumb, though, thankfully, an MRI has confirmed there is not any ligament damage. We’ve yet to get an official timeline of his return, but the original diagnosis of a grade-1 sprain could carry with it a short turnaround time that sees him available for the regular season opener in 8 days. This would be good news.
Also good news is that Davis, along with LeBron James, will not play in the preseason game vs. the Warriors scheduled for today, Monday. Yes, you read that right. The Lakers, barely 48 hours removed from playing a game in ASIA, are scheduled to play a basketball game in Los Angeles. That, my friends, is not something I’m fond of. I’d bet head coach Frank Vogel agrees, thus LeBron and AD are out. Kyle Kuzma is also out, though we do expect to get an update on his recovery from the foot injury he’s been dealing with before game time. There is a report that Jared Dudley will be available to play, however, so that’s nice.
On the Warriors side, Draymond Green and D’Angelo Russell are not expected to play. Steph Curry should be in the lineup, however, so there’s at least one top guy expected to be on the court for this one. Beyond that, though, the Warriors supporting cast is…well, not that great so we’ll have to see how it goes for them.
As for actually writing about this game, the above is really all you need to know. The Lakers will once again not have a full team, so I’m not sure how much we’ll learn in this one. I actually hope not many of the team’s main rotation players get much burn, though it will be interesting to see if Rondo plays for extended stretches and whether he can continue at the level of play he’s shown so far this preseason when surrounded with middle to back end rotation guys. Through 3 games Rondo has played with some starter heavy groups and I think it’s fair to say he’s benefited from having more talent around him.
I’ll also be interested in seeing how well Alex Caruso plays after some so-so minutes in China. Caruso has had to do too much heavy lifting as a ball-dominant creator in pick-and-roll situations, which does not play to his strengths. That won’t change in a game where LeBron is out, but if Rondo is asked to play with similarly talented groups that Caruso will be, we can at least get a more apples to apples comparison for the two — something we have not gotten through 3 preseason games.
In the end, though, I just want this game to get over with. Including tonight’s contest, the Lakers play the Warriors 3 times this week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) before opening the regular season next Tuesday. Getting through this one (and the next two) with minimal wear and tear for both sides should be a priority. Especially for the Lakers and the extra time they’ll need to recover from traveling to and from China. So, get out of this one healthy and get on to the next one. Win or lose, if that happens, I’ll be good.
Where you can watch: 7:30pm start time on Spectrum Sportsnet and NBA TV nationally.