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Lakers Training Camp Roundup: Russell Westbrook, LeBron James still out vs. Suns

Fans will have to wait at least one more game for Russell Westbrook to make his Lakers debut, as both he and LeBron James will be out again for Wednesday’s game.

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Brooklyn Nets v Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers returned to the practice court on Tuesday for the first time since Sunday’s preseason loss to the Nets after having Monday off, and just ahead of Wednesday’s short road trip to Phoenix.

Here’s a look at the notable takeaways from both practice, and from Frank Vogel and Russell Westbrook speaking to the media afterward.

LeBron James, Russell Westbrook out vs. Suns

The Lakers will again be without LeBron James and Russell Westbrook for Wednesday’s game in Phoenix against the Suns. However, Anthony Davis will play once again, and Carmelo Anthony will make his unofficial Lakers debut as well.

Head coach Frank Vogel also said he would sit one of DeAndre Jordan or Dwight Howard on Wednesday, as that pairing will be staggered over the next two games. Even with just one center available, Vogel would not commit to a potential starting lineup of Davis at center. The man plays his cards close to the vest, even in the preseason.

As for practice on Tuesday, Trevor Ariza remained out due to a sore right foot/ankle, an injury that has kept him out since last Thursday’s practice. Ariza was the lone Laker to sit out of practice. While Ariza wasn’t specifically ruled out of Wednesday’s game against the Suns, it seems unlikely he’d play after missing the last six days.

Small ball lineup in scrimmages

In the portion of practice open to the media, the Lakers playing alongside James, Westbrook and Davis were Malik Monk and Carmelo Anthony, meaning it was a Davis at center lineup.

Given that it was simply a scrimmage during practice and, particularly, the section of practice open to the media, Vogel was not tipping his hand on any potential starting lineup. However, after practice, he did talk about that group and the team putting all sorts of players around Westbrook, James and Davis.

“It’s been different every day,” Vogel said. “Today, I think we had Monk and Carmelo with Russ, Bron and AD. We’re trying to play those three guys as much as possible early in camp while they haven’t been playing the games. Just trying to get as many minutes together as we can with that. We look at a different combination every day. There’s a lot to learn about every group that you see, whether we’re playing a big alongside AD or playing AD at the five.”

As seen in the videos above, the Lakers have also practiced with an intensity that Vogel has noted throughout training camp and commented on again following Tuesday’s practice.

“I would say even better than what I’d been hoping for,” Vogel said of the intensity shown. “It’s really been off the charts. The spirit of pulling in the same direction has been really good. And competing against each other in a healthy, positive way and just really guys talking to each other a lot trying to get on the same page, spacing concepts, defensive schemes, all those types of things.”

Best bits from DeAndre Jordan mic’d up

The Lakers mic’d up DeAndre Jordan for practice last week and if you haven’t seen the video of it yet, go watch it now. It’s absolutely hysterical.

Jordan is hilarious throughout, but some of the best bits from the video...

  • Head coach Frank Vogel tells Wayne Ellington to come in for Jordan: “Shooter for shooter. I feel that.”
  • Jordan trying to get Carmelo Anthony to talk after realizing he’s mic’d up: “I’m just saying, we could talk about Tomorrow’s Not Promised. Promote the book.”
  • After Anthony yells at the officials for making a foul call, Jordan defends the refs: “Don’t let Melo scare ya’ll. You’ll still get a copy of the book.”

This video is 100% worth a watch, and will definitely make you laugh multiple times over.

Notes and updates

  • Frank Vogel also shared a story about Gasol, reminiscing about his time as an assistant coach with the Boston Celtics when then-head coach Rick Pitino took a scouting trip to Spain to see a young Gasol play.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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