After sweeping the San Antonio Spurs in a back-to-back on the road, the Los Angeles Lakers now return home and look to continue that momentum on Monday night when they host the Indiana Pacers.
While the Lakers are still without Patrick Beverley as he serves the final game of his suspension, the expectation is that Anthony Davis will be back after a one-game absence.
Davis missed Saturday night’s game against the Spurs with a left calf contusion although it was reported that he would return against the Pacers, which coincides with the Lakers upgrading his status to “probable” on Monday morning.
That represents some very good news for the Lakers as Davis was on a tear before hurting his calf. In his last five games, the big man has averaged 33.4 points, 17.6 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 2.0 steals and 2.6 blocks while shooting 64.4% from the field and 89.5% from the free throw line.
With Davis returning and LeBron James also playing at a high level after scoring 39 in his co-star’s absence on Saturday, the Lakers are as close to full strength as they have been all season.
That should allow the Lakers’ front office to assess what they actually have before deciding if they need to make a trade ahead of the deadline. And they will get an up-close look at a pair of potential trade targets against the Pacers on Monday in Myles Turner and Buddy Hield.
Both have been linked to the Lakers in trade talks for a while now and are in the midst of strong seasons, which is a big reason why the Pacers are 11-8.
Turner is having a career year, posting the best marks of his young career in points (18.9), rebounds (8.4), field goal percentage (57.3 percent), 3-point percentage (46.7 percent) and free-throw percentage (83.6 percent). He also blocks 2.6 shots per game so the Lakers are going to need to be careful when going into the paint on Monday.
The Lakers also need to be mindful of Hield’s shooting as he averages 17.3 points while making 37.4 percent of his 9.8 attempts per game. That is the exact type of outside shooting that the Lakers lack, which is why they have coveted Hield.
The young Pacers go beyond just Turner and Hield though as point guard Tyrese Haliburton has been leading them, having a career year of his own at 19.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and a league-leading 11.1 assists per game. His backcourt mate of the future in Bennedict Mathurin is also having a nice season off the bench, scoring 18.8 points and shooting 42.1% from 3 to put himself in the Rookie of the Year conversation.
Mathurin said after being drafted that James needs to show he is better him, so Monday night is LeBron’s opportunity to prove just that to the rookie.
Los Angeles Lakers (7-11) vs. Indiana Pacers (11-8)
7:30 p.m. PT, November 28, 2022
Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, CA
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM ESPN LA
Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:
PG: Dennis Schroder
SG: Lonnie Walker IV
SF: Troy Brown Jr.
PF: LeBron James
C: Anthony Davis
Key Reserves: Russell Westbrook, Austin Reaves, Kendrick Nunn, Max Christie, Thomas Bryant, Wenyen Gabriel
Projected Pacers Starting Lineup:
PG: Tyrese Haliburton
SG: Buddy Hield
SF: Aaron Nesmith
PF: Jalen Smith
C: Myles Turner
Key Reserves: Bennedict Mathurin, T.J. McConnell, Oshae Brissett, Goga Bitadze
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