Editor’s note: This is the Monday, November 15 edition of the Purple & Bold Lakers newsletter, from reporter Kyle Goon. To receive the newsletter delivered to your inbox, sign up here.
The Lakers went 3-1 this week, but this is a team that specializes in labor pains. Two of those victories came in overtime, and that loss—well, it stung.
They’ve already played three overtime games this season, and it certainly looks like nothing is going to be easy. Let’s see if that changes when LeBron returns, which could happen this week? Let’s look back first:
week in review
Monday, W, Lakers 126, Charlotte Hornets 123 (OT)
Wednesday, W, Lakers 120, Miami Heat 117 (OT)
Friday, L, Minnesota Timberwolves 107, Lakers 83
Sunday, W, Lakers 114, San Antonio Spurs 106
The Lakers (8-6) are seventh in the Western Conference standings, three and a half games behind No. 1 Golden State (11-2).
high Point: None of the Lakers’ victories so far against the Heat is quite like Slugfest. Russell Westbrook and Malik Monk helped the Lakers to an OT victory against their 2020 Finals foes. Jimmy Butler took his ankle twist in the first quarter, but the Lakers certainly fought their own deep issues and ended up looking like a team with competitive fire.
The final point: The third quarter has normally been a low point for the Lakers, but none worse this season than the 40-12 beating that Minnesota placed on them on Friday night. Karl-Anthony Towns himself outscored him, launching 3-pointers and throwing awkward send-ups, while the Lakers themselves failed to score a field goal for seven minutes. Anthony Davis gave the most candid assessment: “We sucked.”
Popular topics: Looking small, looking fast. The Lakers seem to have pulled the plug on DeAndre Jordan, who hasn’t played in center Anthony Davis’ side in the last two games. Also included is the return of Talen Horton-Tucker, who was dismissed (17 points) on Sunday despite a wrap on his right thumb. Carmelo Anthony also broke the starting lineup, but there are plans for LeBron James to return to the bench for him. Kent Bezmore is still “going to be a big part of what we do,” but he couldn’t get off the bench against Spurs after falling deep in his last six starts.
Reading of the week: Chicago is in town tonight: why not investigate what happened to the bull who could keep up with a take? Alex Caruso shows his value on the Chicago defense that has improved greatly, and in our previous newsletter, I broke down the various factors that led to the breakdown of a productive partnership.
heating up: In all three of the Lakers’ victories this week, 3-point shooting was a huge factor, with the team shooting upwards of 40% in each win. it is no coincidence that Wayne Ellington In that period the city has started to brighten it up: he was 14 for 23 at 3-pointers in four matches this week, including 4 for 6 against Miami and 5 for 7 against San Antonio. were involved. Ellington knows his role well: He only took two shots that weren’t 3-pointers in those games.
Cooling Down: Kent Bezmore Still waiting to hit his first 3-pointer since Nov. 2 against the Rockets, a period of 12 straight misses from the deep. Shooting conflicts fed other conflicts, and Bezmore especially looked to be losing ground to Minnesota, which prompted Frank Vogel to shake up the lineup. It is possible that Bezmore gets a chance to reclaim a starting role at some point if the Lakers decide that Horton-Tucker is better off the bench, or if Avery Bradley falls. But not playing at all on Sunday was not a good sign for him, just a day after Vogel said Bezemore was “moving on” his slump.
Injury report: When is LeBron coming back? Chances are visible this week. He’s missed six straight games with an abdominal strain, and it might be a stretch to imagine that he faces the Bulls in the second game of back-to-back Mondays, the first in Milwaukee or Boston. The bar — against opponents he loves to challenge — doesn’t seem out of the question. He hasn’t gone through a full practice run yet, but the Lakers’ travel-heavy schedule makes the prospect of practice before play a bit daunting. Anthony Davis had a black cover on his left forefinger after the Spurs game, but declined to say why. Avery Bradley was listed as suspect for Sunday’s game with a left ankle sprain, which Vogel said he suffered against Minnesota, but he played through (0 for 3 off the field). was going, so that probably had an effect). Austin Reeves missed most of the week with a left hamstring strain and is expected to miss it completely this week as well. Kendrick Nunn and Trevor Ariza are long-term concerns.
Worth quoting: Vogel has ducked and weaved in answers to a lot of lineup questions this year, especially those that ask if he’s locked into any one particular group. But after taking Davis to the center, advancing Anthony and bringing Horton-Tucker into the starting group, he admitted that the lineup, especially during triage time without James, “is the right thing for now.” Yes, sure. That’s what I feel about my team.”
COMING UP (ALL TIME PT)
Monday, vs. Chicago, 7:30 p.m. (NBA TV)
Wednesdays, in Milwaukee, 4:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Friday, in Boston, 4:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Sunday, in Detroit, 3 p.m.
— Kyle Guno
Editor’s Note: Thanks for reading the Purple and Bold Lakers newsletter from reporter Kyle Gone. To receive the newsletter delivered to your inbox, sign up here.