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Lakers vs. Nets Preview: L.A. looks to close China trip with bounce-back win against Brooklyn

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The Lakers will take on the Nets one last time before heading home to the States.

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Los Angeles Lakers v Brooklyn Nets - NBA China Games 2019 Photo by Yanshan Zhang/Getty Images

After three long and confusing days in China, the Los Angeles Lakers will close their trip overseas with one final game against the Brooklyn Nets in Shenzen on Saturday.

The Lakers fell to the Nets 114-111 on Thursday despite a preseason-high 24 and 25 minutes from LeBron James and Anthony Davis, respectively. James and Davis combined for 36 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, but only Davis was a positive in the box score.

They’ll look to bounce back on Saturday, likely with a new batch of starters. Rajon Rondo, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Dwight Howard started alongside James and Davis on Thursday after Avery Bradley, Danny Green and JaVale McGee started in their preseason opener last week.

While one of Caldwell-Pope and Green will start at shooting guard again, Vogel could a plug a new point guard into the starting lineup in Alex Caruso. Through two preseason appearances, Caruso is posting the fifth-highest net rating on the team behind Davis, Green, McGee and Troy Daniels, who is posting a team-high +37 net rating — albeit in one performance.

Rondo has also posted a positive net rating (+9.3) in the preseason, but he has the worst defensive rating between him, Caruso and Bradley. Whoever can defend elite guards on a nightly basis will likely get the starting nod, so Rondo has to prove he can still hold his own on that end.

Meanwhile, the battle at center between Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee still isn’t close, with McGee establishing himself as the clear-cut best option at center in the preseason. We’ll see if Howard can start gaining ground on Saturday.

The game will tip off at 4:30 a.m.

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