The Lakers (8-27) will encounter challenges extending a three-game winning streak for reasons besides hosting the Golden State Warriors (31-2) on Tuesday at Staples Center.
The Lakers will not have Kobe Bryant (sore right shoulder) and D’Angelo Russell (sore throat). Bryant has missed the past three games after experiencing increased pain in his surgically repaired right shoulder. The Lakers sent Russell back early during Monday’s practice and Tuesday’s morning shootaround.
Yet, Lakers coach Byron Scott downplayed the seriousness of both ailments. Scott believes Russell will return for Thursday’s game in Sacramento. Though Scott expressed uncertainty about Bryant’s return, the Lakers coach insisted he hasn’t faced any serious issues after having surgery last year to treat a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder.
“He keeps saying it feels better,” Scott said of Bryant. “It’s a good sign that it’s continuing to get better. It’s just taking a little longer than he thought.”
Anthony Brown will start in Bryant’s place. It’s currently unclear how Scott will fill his absence. Although Lou Williams and Jordan Clarkson have manned the backcourt for the past month, Scott said he may try a different lineup because of Golden State’s versatility. One possibility could entail Larry Nance Jr. starting at small forward.