After an ugly start to the season, the Los Angeles Lakers need to finish strong if they want a chance at making the playoffs. They are currently at the bottom of a tough Western Conference postseason race with a bunch of quality teams in front of them.
One of the squads in front of them is the Dallas Mavericks, who they will take on February 26. Dallas is 3.5 games ahead of LA, so a win could be huge for the Lakers. Unfortunately, they received a brutal injury report ahead of the matchup.
According to the team’s official injury report, all three of the team’s star players may not play. Both LeBron James and Anthony Davis are both listed as probable, so they will likely play, but D’Angelo Russell is doubtful after suffering an ankle sprain in LA’s past contest.
Taking home a win over the Mavericks would benign the Lakers to just 2.5 games back of Dallas, but a loss would take them 4.5 games back. That’s a huge swing with just a quarter of the season remaining, especially considering the Lakers’ place in the playoff race.
James and Davis are in a better position to play, but it seems as thought Russell will likely be sidelined. He stepped on Donte DiVincenzo’s foot while inbounding the ball in LA’s win over the Golden State Warriors. That being said, he seemed to be in good spirits when providing an update after the game.
“Wrong place, wrong time definitely,” Russell said via the NBA Interviews YouTube channel. “Pretty unlucky for me. Players roll their ankles all the time. I don’t do that often, so it’s obviously new. It is what it is. Not really worried.”
Malik Beasley Sounds Off on Lakers Roster
While the Lakers may be missing some crucial pieces in their tilt against the Mavericks, they will still have plenty of solid players available. Malik Beasley, who dropped a game-high 25 points in their win over Golden State, sounded off on the Lakers’ depth during his post-game press conference.
“We’re deep as a team,” Beasley said via the NBA Interviews YouTube channel. “We got starters coming off the bench. Just the fact that D-Lo [D’Angelo Russell] didn’t even finish the game, like, we got so many threats. And like you said, AD and LeBron didn’t get going as much as they wanted to tonight, but we’re deep, and I think that’s the statement we want to make. If it’s not one player, it’s going to be another player. Any given night.”
Lakers Confident in Current Core: Sources
Plus, according to sources that spoke with Sean Deveney of Heavy Sports, the Lakers are very confident in their current core moving forward.
“They would never have given up that pick unless they planned to make some long-term investments,” one GM told Heavy Sports. “They were willing to trade it but they needed some guys just heading into their primes to convince them to give it up. Now they’ve got Russell, they’ve got [Jarred] Vanderbilt, they’ve got Malik Beasley, plus [Rui] Hachimura, Austin Reaves. We’ll see what they do with Mo Bamba, too. That’s a base of young players that they did not have before, you know, guys who are [in their] mid-20s. They’re going to keep those guys in place. They’re all in on paying those guys.”