The Los Angeles Lakers have taken three strikes looking to start the season, losing their opening games while looking ineffective on both ends of the floor. A home game against the Denver Nuggets is their last chance at winning in Staples Center before heading out on a five-game road trip that kicks off in Brooklyn. Securing that first win is a big deal for the Lakers, who desperately need to some positive vibes.
Julius Randle seemingly created those on his own, barreling into a Dallas Mavericks defense that had few answers for the Texas Tornado. Seeing how someone more athletic and active like Kenneth Faried handles the Lakers' bruiser will make for a good test for Julius. Kobe Bryant, meanwhile, played such a poor game against Dallas he was given the day off of practice on Monday to decompress before returning to the team. It will be interesting to see which Kobe shows up to play. He's shown a tendency to come back with a focus on facilitating after falling into funks like the one he's been in to start the year.
Another interesting matchup to keep an eye on through the game is at point guard between Emmanuel Mudiay and D'Angelo Russell. The Lakers worked both guards out in their pre-draft process, ultimately deciding to go with the college-groomed prospect in D'Angelo. Mudiay has averaged 12.7 points, 5.3 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game while shooting 33 percent from the field through three games
The win-loss column is a problem, yet, but the overarching issue is how they're losing. A single win against Denver won't erase the kind of ugly basketball the Lakers have played to start their new season, but it's an important one if only to get on the board before leaving Los Angeles until they return to host the Detroit Pistons on Nov. 15.
Enjoy the game!
Time: 7:30 p.m. PT
Station: TWCSN, NBA TV