The Los Angeles Lakers were dealt a brutal blow ahead of Monday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers. Facing a near must-win for their NBA playoff chances, the news came that starting guard-forward Brandon Ingram will miss the game due to a shoulder injury. The injury update popped up shortly before the game and was somewhat of a surprise, but it now leaves the Lakers incredibly shorthanded.
As ESPN’s Dave McMenamin reported, head coach Luke Walton stated that Ingram was dealing with shoulder discomfort. Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times cited that he tested it out before the game, but things apparently didn’t go well enough for him to suit up.
Ganguli also reported that Tyson Chandler has been ruled out for the game, meaning the Lakers will be thin across the roster for this matchup with the Clippers. We’re going to take a look at the team’s updated roster and starting lineup with the news of Ingram and Chandler being out.
Lakers Roster & Starting Lineup vs. Clippers
*Notates expected starter
C: JaVale McGee*, Moritz Wagner
PF: Kyle Kuzma*, Mike Muscala, Johnathan Williams
SF: LeBron James*, Josh Hart
SG: Reggie Bullock*, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
PG: Rajon Rondo*, Alex Caruso, Isaac Bonga
The big question becomes whether the Lakers will go with their small-ball lineup which featured Kyle Kuzma at center, or if they’ll go traditional with JaVale McGee. The Clippers start Ivica Zubac, who was acquired in a deal with the Lakers, so using a traditional big man like McGee would make sense.
Regardless of the direction that the Lakers opt to go, all five of the starters along with Josh Hart and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are bound to see heavy minutes. Beyond that, either Moritz Wagner or Mike Muscala could be tasked with seeing quite a few additional minutes, or Walton could go with Kuzma and James against Montrezl Harrell and company.
Along with that group, the South Bay Lakers revealed earlier in the day that both Isaac Bonga and Johnathan Williams will be with the Lakers. There’s a chance Williams could see some run at the very least.
Lakers’ Playoff Outlook
The injury to Ingram couldn’t have come at a worse time, as the Clippers are one team sitting in front of the Lakers in the standings at this point. LeBron and company sit at 30-33 on the year, and their final 19 games of the season feature a pretty brutal stretch as roughly 15-16 coming against teams with legitimate playoff chances.
As things currently stand, FiveThirtyEight has given the Lakers just a one percent chance to make the playoffs with their Elo system heading into Monday’s game. Beyond that, ESPN’s NBA Basketball Power Index (BPI) not only gave the Lakers a 1.1 percent chance, but they also have the Pelicans listed with a better playoff outlook at 1.3 percent.