Thursday’s game will mark just the third game James has missed this season. James missed 17 consecutive games with a groin injury last season, which he ironically suffered against the Warriors. This year is obviously much different, though, as James’ injury isn’t expected to keep him sidelined for nearly as long, the Lakers are 32 games above .500 as opposed to just six games last season and they have another star to lean on in Anthony Davis.
Oh, and the Warriors are the worst team in the NBA — that seems important to note.
Circling back to Davis, the Lakers have listed him as probable with a sore left elbow. Davis banged his elbow on the backboard while trying to go for a block against New Orleans Pelicans forward Nicolo Melli in Tuesday’s game. Let me repeat that one more time: Anthony Davis hurt his ELBOW on the BACKBOARD while going for a BLOCK in a game. It takes an incredible amount of athleticism to sustain that type of injury.
With James sidelined, expect Rajon Rondo to start alongside Avery Bradley in the backcourt, with Danny Green sliding over to the 3. The two-man pairing of Rondo and Bradley hasn’t been great this season, posting a -1.6 net rating in 166 minutes together, but Rondo theoretically fills the playmaking void left by James.
Vogel could also turn to Kyle Kuzma can now that he has the luxury of playing Markieff Morris behind Davis. Kuzma has started just six games this season.
The Lakers and Warriors tip-off at 7:30 p.m. PT on TNT nationally and Spectrum SportsNet locally.