Despite a stellar showing from rookie undrafted free agent Zach Norvell Jr., the Lakers fell short without their star players against the Warriors, losing 124 to 103. Finishing the preseason with a 3-3 record, including a 3-1 showing against the Warriors, the Lakers turn their attention to their home opener on Tuesday against the Clippers.
Lakers Stumble Without Starters in Final Preseason Game vs. Warriors
Norvell and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led the way for the Lakers, chipping in 29 and 25 points respectively. Both were lights-out from behind the three-point line and were major factors in the undermanned Lakers taking an early lead against the Warriors.
Aside from Norvell and Caldwell-Pope, the majority of the Lakers struggled to convert despite excellent ball movement and numerous open looks. Alex Caruso looked to be off to a strong start before leaving the game with an apparent back injury. Unfortunately, Caruso wouldn’t return – leaving his status up in the air heading into the regular season.
Devontae Cacok had yet another strong showing and seems to have cemented a big role for himself on the South Bay Lakers this season. While undersized, Cacok has a nose for the basketball and plays with an unmatched motor on both ends of the court. With both JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard having a history of missing time due to injury, Cacok could be a name worth keeping an eye on to be called up should McGee or Howard be forced to miss any time this season.
All in all, it was a surprisingly positive showing for the Lakers despite not having LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kyle Kuzma, Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Quinn Cook, JaVale McGee, and Dwight Howard. Especially with Steph Curry and D’Angelo Russell seeing close to a full starter’s workload of minutes, Frank Vogel has to be happy about the depth his team looks to have.
Lakers set for Opening Night Showdown With Clippers
After dropping their preseason finale against the Warriors, the Lakers lock horns with the Clippers for a much-anticipated matchup of building-mates.
The Clippers publicly won out the Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes over the Lakers this offseason and assembled a formidable duo capable of holding their own with the Lakers’ pair of superstars. Added to an existing core that made the playoffs in a loaded Western Conference and put a scare into the Warriors, the Clippers are the early favorite to win the NBA championship.
The Lakers have the second-best odds to win the NBA Finals making this an early season preview of the matchup oddsmakers think will go down in the Western Conference Finals.
Though Paul George is out with a shoulder injury for the opening night tilt, Kawhi Leonard should have more than enough support in the form of Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell, and Landry Shamet among others. The Lakers are technically the away team, though if previous matchups between the two teams are any indicator, the crowd is much more likely to be split evenly (if not leaning Lakers).