On Monday, the Los Angeles Lakers will travel to the city that never sleeps to take on the Brooklyn Nets. The game will be the second game of a five-game road trip the Lakers currently find themselves on, coming on the heels of what was the most controversial game of not only the Lakers’ season, but possibly the NBA’s season as a whole.
That controversy came from the terrible officiating seen in the Lakers’ loss to the Celtics on Saturday. It was bad on both sides, however, the Lakers specifically saw themselves on the other end on multiple, atrocious calls from the referees. However, none were more noteworthy than the one that came on LeBron James’s efforts to win the game at the end of regulation, when the officials completely missed a foul from Jayson Tatum on LeBron’s arm.
LeBron is furious he didn't get this foul call at the end of the game pic.twitter.com/hANldRDGCo— Action Network (@ActionNetworkHQ) January 29, 2023
Now, the Lakers will look to quickly turn this road trip around after it started on such an infuriating and dismal note. However, that will be tough to do when looking at the injury report...
LeBron James and Anthony Davis are out
Early on Sunday, the Lakers announced via their injury report that LeBron James (left ankle soreness) and Anthony Davis (right foot stress injury) would both be missing Monday’s game vs. the Nets. It will be the fourth game this season that both LeBron and AD have missed. The Lakers are 1-2 in those types of preceding games, with the sole win being one of the team’s best wins of the year in a home game vs. the Heat.
The conspiracy theorist in me wants to say that LeBron and AD are sacrificing a possible win to send a message to the league by not appearing in a game being showcased on NBA TV. Both players were extremely upset with the referees’ calls in Saturday’s loss against the Celtics, with this early “out” designation serving as a “F*** you” to the Association.
Of course, that cannot be the case with the 23-27 Lakers so desperate for wins to try and move them up the standings. The most rational explanation is that the two aren’t really injured and that they are just getting some rest on the first night of a back-to-back (away game on Tuesday vs. the Knicks).
That doesn’t make their absences any more palatable. Although the Nets are 30-19, they’ve been reeling lately without Kevin Durant and definitely represent an opponent that’s beatable for the fully-staffed Lakers.
Sadly — just as the team’s lack of wings has been — LeBron’s age and AD’s proclivity to injury are other realities of this roster that must be respected. Of course, the Lakers probably would have loved to avoid the terrible start to the season that has them currently ranked 13th in the Western Conference so that they could stomach these needed absences from the two, but unfortunately, time machines do not exist.
I, personally, wish LeBron and AD could have pushed their bodies to be able to play both of these games in the city of New York, but I am not either of those two players, and I am not one of the team’s athletic trainers. If they need to rest, they need to rest.
Because of that, the job in front of Russell Westbrook, Darvin Ham, and the others to avoid 23-28 has become extremely difficult.
Notes and Updates
- Other than LeBron and Davis, Austin Reaves will continue to be out (left hamstring strain). He’s been getting some sprints in, with the sophomore guard indicating he was “feeling good” earlier this week. The Lakers will also be without Scotty Pippen Jr. and Cole Swider (G-League play).
- Lonnie Walker IV (knee tendinitis) will be probable. He made his return on Saturday vs. the Celtics after a 14-game absence. He was on a minutes restriction, playing just under 18 minutes while contributing 13 points on 6-8 field-goal shooting.
- The Nets will be without Kevin Durant (right knee MCL sprain), Kessler Edwards (G-League play) David Duke Jr. (G-League play), and Dru Smith (G-League play).
- T.J. Warren is doubtful (left shin contusion) while the polarizing Ben Simmons (left knee soreness) will be questionable. He missed the Nets’ most recent game after leaving in the 3rd quarter of the game before that.
The Lakers and Nets will tip off early, at 4:30 p.m. PT. The game will be nationally televised on NBA TV with the local broadcast coming to you via Spectrum SportsNet.