I’m tired of writing about the Lakers needing to win a game or play better or what the standings implications are when it comes to whether they win or lose. The Lakers play the Raptors tonight and while I could write a bunch about matchups and X’s and O’s and ways for them to excel in this game, I’m not going to.
The team has played poorly of late, I’d like that to stop. Fact is, though, is that they simply have to go out there and do it. There’s a level of intensity and focus and desire required, here. There’s also player combinations and coaching decisions that help facilitate it. Until the team shows they’re going to take the proper steps, I’m just going to sit back and wait.
In saying that, the team is in flux again after news broke this afternoon that Dennis Schröder will not play due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols. We do not know if this contact tracing — something Dennis experienced earlier this season and caused him to miss a week — or if he tested positive for the coronavirus. We may not end up knowing that at all, so I will not speculate. Fact is, though, he’s out tonight and that hurts a team seeking out chemistry and trying to find a rhythm of playing together.
It’s not yet known who will replace Dennis in the starting lineup. If it were me, I’d probably choose between Wes or Ben McLemore. The Lakers starting group with Drummond needs more spacing besides just KCP and putting in one of those guys would help generate some. Wes, of course, hasn’t played in some time so maybe it’s too much to ask of him to come in and start a game. However, Wes is a pro’s pro and has been a starter throughout his career, so maybe he’d adapt quickly. Ben brings bad defense and I don’t think the Lakers need that in their starting group, but, again, shooting. Ben helps there. Starting either one of those guys puts more of a burden on LeBron to be the point guard coming off his injury, but I don’t know what to say about that. It’s not ideal, nothing about this season is.
Beyond that question about who starts, I have little else to say about this game. I hope the Lakers play better. Considering their last game was a loss to the Kings, that’s not a high bar.
Where you can watch: 7:00pm start time on NBA TV and Spectrum SportsNet.