On Thursday, the Los Angeles Lakers will take on the Minnesota Timberwolves in a game that’s technically a “home” matchup for the purple and gold on the schedule, even though the game will once again be played at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on the second night of a back-to-back after the Lakers lost against the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday.
Yes, that’s right, a preseason back-to-back. Because the NBA couldn’t get enough of essentially asking for their stars to sit out games due to back-to-backs in the regular season, they had to make the easy decision for the teams in the preseason on when their big names should take a rest.
Speaking of which, that brings us to our preview.
No show for LeBron, AD, Russ, and Beverley?
Looking at the schedule a few weeks ago, it always seemed likely that LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Russell Westbrook would not be playing in this game. Darvin Ham did confirm before Wednesday’s game against the Suns that we would not be seeing AD against the Timberwolves, while also saying that the other veterans of the team will likely sit out as well.
It seems like a no-brainer to sit them, even if the team — and, of course, us rabid fans — have put an emphasis on them taking this preseason much more seriously than they did last year.
LeBron already committed to this idea, saying he would be playing more in these six preseason games than he did in the 2021-22 preseason. Sitting in Thursday’s game still allows him to still do so as LeBron only appeared in three of the six preseason games last year.
If the Timberwolves play all of their players, the Lakers will be pretty screwed early on without AD. Minnesota’s brand new starting frontcourt includes Karl-Anthony Towns as well as Rudy Gobert, who came to the team this summer in one of the more aggressive trade packages you’ll see for a polarizing “superstar” around the league.
Say what you will about Gobert and the flaws he does or doesn’t have, he gives the Timberwolves intimidating size in their starting lineup between him and Towns. The Lakers, on the other hand, are lacking in the size department. Centers Damian Jones and Thomas Bryant will have a lot to deal with on both ends of the floor on Thursday without AD, especially given the fact that there are not really any other true power forwards on the team.
Patrick Beverley meets old friends
Although many more sparks will probably fly when Patrick Beverley first faces off against his old(er) team in the Los Angeles Clippers on Oct 20., this preseason game could have served as an appetizer to us Lakers fans in terms of what antics Beverley will be putting on.
Sadly, Beverley will probably not be playing after Ham indicated that the veterans of the team will likely be sitting out Thursday’s game after playing on Wednesday. However, that doesn’t mean he’s going to sit on the bench and be quiet all night. In fact, Beverley might be able to verbally poke at his former teammates even more than he initially would have if he played, all while chilling in street clothes.
For all that we know, Beverley enjoyed his one season in Minnesota and greatly enjoyed playing with Anthony Edwards, Karl Anthony-Towns, and his other teammates. However, the name on the front of Beverley’s jersey now says “Lakers”, which means anyone not wearing that jersey can now fall victim to his tomfoolery.
Like I said, Beverley probably won’t be as intense for this preseason game against the Timberwolves as he will be for that regular season game in a couple of weeks against the Clippers, but still, some funny moments are sure to happen between him and his old teammates on Thursday.
Notes and Updates
- We will update this post later with the official Lakers and Timberwolves injury reports when they become readily available, but Darvin Ham already said that LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook will sit, while Patrick Beverley also may not play.
Darvin Ham says Anthony Davis will not play on the second half of the back-to-back Thursday. He will also hold LeBron James and Russell Westbrook out. He said Patrick Beverley will be 50-50.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) October 6, 2022
- The Lakers were without Lonnie Walker IV (ankle), Troy Brown, Jr. (back), and Dennis Schroder against the Suns, while the Timberwolves held Karl-Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert, and D’Angelo Russell out of their first preseason game on Tuesday.
- Walker seems like he may end up making his Lakers debut after missing most of the first week of training camp, but Ham indicated on Wednesday that Brown will remain out against the Timberwolves. He was seen getting in some individual work on Wednesday, so he doesn’t seem too far off of making his own debut.
Lonnie Walker IV (ankle) has a chance to play tomorrow, while Troy Brown Jr. remains out (back).— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) October 6, 2022
- Schroder will definitely not be making his debut, as we are still awaiting word on if his visa issues have been resolved to allow him to come back to the United States from Europe.
- Around the league, Donovan Mitchell made his debut in a Cavaliers uniform before the Lakers tipped off on Wednesday. Mitchell finished with 16 points on 6-9 field-goal shooting in only 19 minutes against the 76ers.
The Lakers and Timberwolves will tip off at 7 p.m. PT. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN, and locally on Spectrum SportsNet.