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Game Preview: Lakers vs Wolves

Photo/Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers travel to Minnesota tonight to take on the Timberwolves on the second night of a back-to-back. The Lakers lost in Chicago last night in yet another disappointing performance, and will be going against the current Western Conference 1-seed Timberwolves. They’re set to be short-handed with no LeBron James and no Gabe Vincent, while Anthony Davis is a game-time decision.

Paint Battle

LA loves to attack and score in the paint, but the Timberwolves are an elite defense this season – especially in the paint – with their defensive anchor Rudy Gobert and they have other elite defenders in Jaden McDaniels and Anthony Edwards. LA will need to successfully score in the paint, as they haven’t been a good 3 point-shooting team all season. With James missing tonight, the Lakers offense will certainly be a struggle if they can’t attack the paint.

Next Guy Up

With James out, the Lakers will obviously need offensive production in his place. Could it be D’Angelo Russell? Russell has struggled lately scoring the ball, but now is the perfect time to find his rhythm as the schedule gets tougher before Christmas. Russell is a former member of the Timberwolves, having been traded to the Lakers from Minnesota back at the trade deadline in February. Now would be a perfect time to have a revenge game.

Will we see Austin Reaves inserted into the starting lineup in LeBron’s absence? Reaves has got out of his early season struggle and has become the Reaves we were accustomed to seeing last season. The Lakers need scoring tonight and Reaves can definitely provide help in that department. Tip off is at 6 PST as the Lakers look to pull of a surprise win in Minnesota. Is LA able to put last nights bad loss performance ahead of a stretch of tough games or will LA slide to four straight losses?

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