EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — The Los Angeles Lakers will be limited at point guard for their opener against the Golden State Warriors, but that didn’t stop Anthony Davis from planning a statement performance to start the regular season.
“Our first two games are against two title contenders,” Davis said Monday, referring to Tuesday’s opener on the road against the defending champs, followed by a home game against the LA Clippers on Thursday. “It’s always good to spoil a ring night. So our mindset is going up and starting this season with a couple Ws.”
New Lakers coach Darvin Ham will be without one point guard, and possibly two, in his rotation.
Dennis Schroder had a surgical procedure planned Monday to repair a ligament in his thumb, and Ham estimated the recovery will keep him out of the lineup for 3-to-4 weeks.
Schroder signed with the Lakers last month and missed most of training camp while resolving a visa issue that prevented him from traveling from Germany to Southern California with his family. He appeared in one preseason game for L.A., going 0-for-4 from the field with one rebound and one turnover in nine minutes.
Russell Westbrook is also hampered entering the Warriors game. He played just five minutes in the Lakers’ preseason finale against the Sacramento Kings before suffering a strained left hamstring.
Ham said Westbrook was able to participate in the Lakers’ noncontact practice Monday, and the team won’t know if the veteran guard will be able to play against the Warriors until he is evaluated Tuesday.
Ham did not confirm whether Westbrook would come off the bench again if he is cleared to play, as he did against the Kings.
“I thought he had got off to a great start, made a couple plays for his teammates. But then having to exit the game, that’s the last look you get,” Ham said. “We’ll keep working him through it, and continue to evaluate our roster, and continue to see what rotation fits — not just the starters.”
Backup big man Thomas Bryant is also day-to-day with a thumb injury, according to Ham.
Davis, who missed three out of the Lakers’ six preseason games because of lower back tightness, said he would have “no restrictions” for the Warriors game. However, he revealed the cause of the back pain, blaming a team appearance at the Pechanga Resort Casino some 100 miles from the Lakers’ practice facility as the reason for the flare up.
“Sitting on the bus for however long when we went to Pechanga,” Davis said. “The bus was a little different than what we normally drive. So just from there, sitting up, bunched up for a couple hours kind of affected it.”
LeBron James, who will begin his 20th season on Tuesday against his old Finals foe, is hoping health will be on his team’s side, unlike last season.
“Vision? I didn’t really have a vision [for this season],” James said Monday. “Health has always been a big piece for our club since I’ve got here. That’s the only vision, come in and be as healthy as possible and give ourselves a chance to win every night.”
Davis sounded like someone expecting to see a lot more wins than L.A. was able to muster since its championship in 2020.
“We’re motivated to get back to where we belong. The last two seasons were not what we envisioned,” Davis said. “It was not Lakers basketball and we know that. Not what our organization’s standard is. Our standard is to compete for championships and the last two seasons, we have not. So, it’s motivation and hunger from every guy on the floor. Everybody in the locker room, all the coaches, the front office, to make sure that we get back to that level of basketball that we know we can play at.”