Ready or not, the NBA is back, and the Los Angeles Lakers will tip off their preseason with a game against a familiar opponent, the LA Clippers, on Friday.
Although the Lakers and Clippers didn’t meet up in the playoffs like they were expected to last season, they played four entertaining games on some of the biggest nights in the NBA: opening day, Christmas Day and re-opening day. While Friday could be another entertaining game between the two sides, it probably won’t be because of the teams’ stars.
On Thursday, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel announced that LeBron James and Anthony Davis will not be available for Friday night’s contest. The Clippers haven’t made an official announcement, but it’s safe to assume they’ll follow suit with their stars.
With at least James and Davis out, there’s a good chance that we see a whole new starting five for the Lakers on Friday. To be fair, though, that would have been true even if James and Davis played because of how much roster turnover there was in the offseason.
Speaking of roster turnover, Friday will likely be the day that Dennis Schröder, Wesley Matthews, Montrezl Harrell and Marc Gasol make their debuts for the Lakers. That alone is enough reason to tune into the game.
Then, there’s the added excitement of seeing Talen Horton-Tucker play his first game as a sophomore. Horton-Tucker’s first NBA offseason was short, but apparently he’s still managed to stand out at practice. Suffice to say, THT will be the main attraction on Friday.
The Lakers and Clippers will get things started at 7:00 p.m. PT on Spectrum SportsNet.
Notes and Updates
- In addition to James and Davis, the Lakers will be without Alfonzo McKinnie on Friday. McKinnie, who the Lakers acquired from the Cleveland Cavaliers in November, has missed all of training camp so far with an “excused absence” from the team.
- Friday will mark the Clippers’ first game since they blew a 3-1 lead to the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference semifinals.