The Indiana Pacers and LA Lakers will square off in a must-win tie for both teams on Saturday night. The result of this game will have a huge implication on the NBA Play-in Tournament picture in both conferences.
The LA Lakers are currently on a three-game winning run and need to win both their remaining fixtures if they are to avoid the play-in tournament. With a 40-30 record, Frank Voget's men cannot fall below the seventh seed in the West, but they can't finish any higher than sixth either.
Although the Indiana Pacers enter this matchup on the back of a loss, favorable results elsewhere mean that they have a chance of claiming the eighth seed in the East. Nate Bjorkgren's men currently have the same 33-37 record as the Charlotte Hornets, but the latter is ahead in the standings due to a head-to-head advantage.
LA Lakers Injury Report
The LA Lakers are set to receive a major injury boost against the Indiana Pacers on Saturday. For starters, Dennis Schroder is in line to make his return after spending two weeks in the NBA's health and safety protocols. LeBron James is also expected to return after dealing with an ankle injury. Both have been listed as questionable for the time being.
Anthony Davis has also been listed as questionable due to an adductor strain, but head coach Frank Vogel said he's likely to play against the Indiana Pacers. Alex Caruso didn't feature in the LA Lakers' latest game on Wednesday due to right foot soreness and he's questionable for tonight as well.
Indiana Pacers Injury Report
The injury-plagued Indiana Pacers could be without the services of Domantas Sabonis and Caris LeVert on Saturday. Both Sabonis (bruised left quad) and LeVert (bruised right knee) have been listed as questionable for tonight.
Malcolm Brogdon (sore right hamstring), Jeremy Lamb (sore left knee) and Edmond Sumner (left knee contusion) have all been ruled out for the matchup against the LA Lakers. Meanwhile, Myles Turner and TJ Warren remain sidelined indefinitely.
LA Lakers vs Indiana Pacers: Predicted Lineups
The LA Lakers could have the luxury of fielding a full-strength starting lineup against the Indiana Pacers. Dennis Schroder and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope should fill out the backcourt while LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Andre Drummond will round out the frontcourt.
Talen Horton-Tucker has made huge plays of late and head coach Frank Vogel will rely on him again. Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell are also expected to provide some offensive firepower off the bench.
If Caris LeVert is able to return to the rotation on Saturday, he'll start at point guard with TJ McConnell returning to the bench. Justin Holiday is expected to slot in as the shooting guard. Doug McDermott and Oshae Brissett will occupy the two forward slots.
Domantas Sabonis' recent streak of injuries may force the Indiana Pacers to bench him for the first game of a back-to-back. If he does sit, JaKarr Sampson is likely to start at center. Expect Goga Bitadze and Kelan Martin to receive a few minutes as well.
LA Lakers vs Indiana Pacers: Predicted Starting 5s
Point Guard - Dennis Schroder | Shooting Guard - Kentavious Caldwell-Pope | Small Forward - LeBron James | Power Forward - Anthony Davis | Center - Andre Drummond
Point Guard - Caris LeVert | Shooting Guard - Justin Holiday | Small Forward - Doug McDermott | Power Forward - Oshae Brissett | Center - JaKarr Sampson