In what promises to be a blockbuster NBA matchup, defending champions LA Lakers take on the surging Brooklyn Nets. The LA Lakers have lost one half of their superstar duo in the form of Anthony Davis, who will sit out due to a calf injury.
The LA Lakers have won eight of their last 10 NBA games but haven’t been at their dominant best. Anthony Davis’ absence has affected the team but the likes of Montrezl Harrel and Dennis Schroder have supported LeBron James, who continues to excel.
They now come up against a Brooklyn Nets side who currently have the second-best offense in the NBA, and also the fourth-worst defense. They have been unlucky with injuries and will miss Kevin Durant against the LA Lakers.
Despite the Brooklyn Nets' injury woes, they are currently on a four-game winning streak and will be looking to make it five straight wins.
Brooklyn Nets vs LA Lakers: Injury Updates
The Brooklyn Nets missed the services of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in their last game. KD has been absent for a couple of stretches of the season due to health and safety protocols, while injuries to several other rotation pieces have prevented the Brooklyn Nets from finding their rhythm.
Against the LA Lakers, the Nets will welcome Irving back into the lineup but Durant has been ruled out. The likes of Iman Shumpert, Nicolas Claxton and Spencer Dinwiddie are also expected to sit out for a few more weeks.
Anthony Davis could have been disastrous for the LA Lakers, but the improved form of the supporting cast has allowed LeBron James to lead his side to victories. Unfortunately, the Lakers' short-handed defense may not be enough against the Brooklyn Nets.
Kyle Kuzma and Dennis Schroder have shown more defensive awareness and aggression in recent weeks. Considering the number of offensive threats the Brooklyn Nets possess, a lot will depend upon whether the Lakers can contain them.
LeBron James is producing incredible numbers and will be looking to lead his side to victory against his former teammate Kyrie Irving.
Brooklyn Nets vs LA Lakers: Predicted Lineups
The Brooklyn Nets will be glad to welcome Kyrie Irving back into the starting five, with DeAndre Jordan also fit to start at center. James Harden will take up the guard position along with Irving, with Joe Harris also featuring. Bruce Brown has been a vital defensive presence and he'll complete the lineup.
The Brooklyn Nets have relied on their Big 3 to shoulder the scoring burden, and will be looking to add defensive depth to their roster before the trade deadline.
Meanwhile, despite the absence of Anthony Davis, the LA Lakers have enough offensive threats to make it a difficult day for the Nets’ leaky defense.
The LA Lakers have seen some crucial scoring performances off the bench from Montrezl Harrell and have held their own defensively in the last few weeks as well. The Lakers currently have the best defense in the NBA, although the injured Anthony Davis played a vital role in the Lakers' excellence on that end of the floor.
Dennis Schroder and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are expected to be the starting guards, with James pairing up with Kuzma at the forward positions and Marc Gasol starting at center. The LA Lakers’ defense gives them an advantage, although Anthony Davis’ absence will certainly be felt.
Brooklyn Nets Predicted Lineup
G James Harden, G Kyrie Irving, F Bruce Brown, F Joe Harris, C DeAndre Jordan
LA Lakers Predicted Lineup
G Dennis Schroder, G Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, F LeBron James, F Kyle Kuzma, C Marc Gasol