The are coming off a 100-86 loss to the

The banged-up Lakers (15-29) will host the Indiana Pacers (24-20) tonight at Staples Center. The Pacers sit in playoff positioning at 6th in the Eastern Conference while the Lakers stay comfortably in the cellar getting slightly buzzed off Big-Baller-Ade at 13th in the West. The Lakers starting backcourt of Lonzo Ball (left knee sprain) and Kentavius Caldwell-Pope (achilles) have been officially listed as Out, while Kyle Kuzma (left hand joint sprain) and Brandon Ingram (left ankle sprain) are being listed as questionable. The Lakeshow will attempt to steer this ship back on course after not having Lonzo Ball in the lineup for a third straight game. They have yet to win a game this year with Lonzo out, their record is 0-8 without him. It’s probably good that they’re being cautious with his return because they wouldn’t want him out long-term as other injuries keep piling up for them. The Pacers have been playing relatively well this month, going 5-3. They are 10-11 on the road this season and are coming off a 100-86 loss to the Trailblazers in Portland last night. Their top scorers of that game were point guard Darren Collison and the small forward Victor Oladipo – who is having a breakout year. This seasons Oladipo is averaging 24.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and .9 blocks per game. Both players have the potential to do serious damage, especially if the lakers are going to keep playing defense at the same rate they have been. I mention Collison too because the Lakers have a knack for letting speedy little point guards run them out of the gym, and this is dating back to the twilight of Kobe’s career. The Lakers were in one of their best stretches of the season until Lonzo and company were injured for the Memphis game back on Monday. Brandon Ingram sat out that game because of injury, but hopefully he suits up for this contest because they are going to have a rough time getting buckets if he’s out.The young Lakers have shown a good rapport off the court, especially Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, and Brandon Ingram. This week they all went to the movies and filmed parts of the excursion on social media. My favorite was when they were clowning Ingram for resembling a certain creepypasta meme. Outings like this are good for developing chemistry, it will pay off when they need to have confidence in each other and be on the same wavelength for big in-game moments. The Lakers have a chance tomorrow if Brandon Ingram steps onto the court. If he doesn’t make it then they would have to have some great, consistent play from Julius Randle, Brook Lopez, Kyle Kuzma, and Jordan Clarkson. Randle is willing to step up if given the opportunity, this season he has put up some memorable performances when getting limited minutes from Luke Walton. Being a young player in your first contract year will make you hungry and aggressive on the court, but he has to control that energy by playing smart defense and getting teammates involved too.  

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