The Los Angeles Lakers will play the first game of a five-game road trip on Tuesday in Chicago with the hope of putting an end to their five-game losing streak with a win against the Bulls.
At full strength, the Lakers are probably a better team than the Bulls on paper, but with Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram sidelined for the foreseeable future, it’s a toss up. Fortunately for the Lakers, Chicago won’t be at full strength either.
According to Malika Andrews of ESPN, Zach LaVine has been ruled out of Tuesday’s game with a right patellar tendon strain. If LaVine was healthy, the Bulls would likely be favored to win.
The former UCLA guard has been on an absolute tear throughout the league over the past several weeks, averaging 26.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game in his last 15 games. Since the All-Star break, he’s averaging more point per game than Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kemba Walker and Klay Thompson. He’s been fantastic for Chicago offensively and he’s not even their best prospect.
That title, depending on who you ask, belongs to Lauri Markkanen, an athletic 7-footer with a sweet shooting stroke. Over his last 15 games, the 21-year-old big man is averaging 22.7 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. He’s only 21 years old.
With veterans Otto Porter and Robin Lopez rounding out Chicago’s front court, they might have enough talent to extend the Lakers’ losing streak to six games, especially if Kyle Kuzma is still dealing with ankle pain. For #TeamTank, that’s good news.
The Lakers fell out of top-10 lottery position after the Charlotte Hornets dropped back-to-back games over the weekend, but a loss to the Bulls would get them back there. While seeing Andre Ingram lead the Lakers to a win in his return would be a great story, a top-10 pick on draft night would be a lot cooler. Sorry, Andre.
Tip-off is at 5 p.m. PST on Spectrum SportsNet.
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