The Los Angeles Lakers take center stage Saturday when they square off with the Golden State Warriors in a nationally-televised matchup. While the Lakers were able to get star forward LeBron James back from injury prior to last game against the Los Angeles Clippers, it was expected he would suit up for this game. Unfortunately, it seems that won’t be the case, as a late decision was made for James to rest.
As ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported, Lakers coach Luke Walton stated the team will hold LeBron out Saturday for “load management” after he woke up sore following his first game back.
This isn’t all that surprising, but the fact the decision was made this close to tip is interesting. Whether James and the team just decided to go this route late in the day or made the call earlier, the task of defeating Golden State on the road now gets even tougher.
Let’s check out the Lakers’ roster and starting lineup in this game, which features veteran center Tyson Chandler also sitting out for rest purposes.
Lakers Roster & Starting Lineup vs. Warriors
|Center||Ivica Zubac||JaVale McGee|
|Power Forward||Kyle Kuzma||Michael Beasley||Moritz Wagner|
|Small Forward||Brandon Ingram||Josh Hart|
|Shooting Guard||Kentavious Caldwell-Pope||Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk|
|Point Guard||Rajon Rondo||Lance Stephenson|
The Lakers struggled quite a bit with James sidelined for 17 games, posting a 6-11 record, but were also without various other players during that stretch as well. Rajon Rondo, Kyle Kuzma and Lonzo Ball were among the main names who missed time due to their own injuries. This led to the team trying to stay above water until the star could return from a groin injury suffered on Christmas Day.
James’ injury occurred against the Warriors, but the Lakers were able to overcome the absence and still pick up a win on Christmas. They’ll rely heavily on the likes of Kuzma, Rondo and Brandon Ingram to handle the offensive workload on Saturday in the high-profile matchup.
As far as Chandler being ruled out, Ivica Zubac will see a big role once again while JaVale McGee should see decent minutes as well. In the past, Walton has opted to limit Michael Beasley’s minutes for the most part, which could point to both Zubac and McGee being busy against DeMarcus Cousins and the Warriors front line.