For the fourth time this month and sixth time this season, the Los Angeles Lakers will play without their leading scorer, shot-blocker and rebounder, Anthony Davis — this time against the Orlando Magic at home on Monday.
In the firs two games the Lakers played without Davis, they went 1-1, but it should be noted that Kyle Kuzma was also injured in the one game they lost without Davis. In the four games Kuzma’s started in Davis’ absence, the Lakers are 4-0.
Barring an unexpected adjustment from Frank Vogel, Kuzma will start again on Monday and match up with with Aaron Gordon. Gordon, the No. 4 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, hasn’t been any more impressive than Kuzma this season, averaging just 13.2 points per game on a career-low 41.3% shooting from the field, but he has the size and strength to make life difficult of Kuzma on both ends of the floor. As far as individual matchup’s go, Monday will be as good of a defensive test as Kuzma’s seen all season.
Rajon Rondo will also be sidelined for Monday’s matchup with the Magic due to a finger fracture he suffered against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday. Rondo’s status is day-to-day.
With Rondo out, Vogel will have to continue to experiment with different guard rotations that hide their need for another ball-handler outside of LeBron James. That should be less of an issue on Monday, though, as the Magic will be without both of their backup point guards, DJ Augustin and Michael Carter-Williams.
The Lakers and Magic will tip-off at 7:30 p.m. on Spectrum SportsNet.
Notes and Updates
- Anthony Davis and Rajon Rondo will not be active for Monday’s game. While Rondo is expected to be out at a few more days, Frank Vogel sounded pretty optimistic about Davis’ chances of joining the Lakers for their upcoming road trip.
- The Lakers are 1-0 against the Magic this season, having beaten them 96-87 on Dec. 11. However, Markelle Fultz and Nikola Vucevic weren’t available for their last matchup, so there will be a different pace to the game this time around.