LeBron James and Anthony Davis will be ‘ready to go’ for regular season
But when the season does start on Dec. 22 and the Lakers open their NBA championship repeat campaign against the Clippers, Vogel left little doubt that James and Davis will be ready to perform.
Vogel held out James and Davis from Sunday night’s exhibition game against the Clippers at Staples Center, making that two games the dynamic duo has not played in so far.
“Well, they’re not ready yet, but they will be on the 22nd, and when we’re ready to start games, those guys will be ready to go,” Vogel said on a pregame videoconference from Staples Center. “But we’ve been trying to strike that balance of easing them in enough while at the same time making sure they’re working to be ready for the beginning of the season. I think they both look really good. They’re probably not ready to play in a regular-season game today, but they’re both in good shape and hopefully can continue to build up to the start of the season.”
Talen Horton-Tucker, who scored a game-high 19 points in the Lakers’ preseason opener, quickly has made a strong impression with LeBron James and others on the team.
The Lakers have had five practices, allowing James and Davis to get in their work with the group.
Vogel said he expects James and Davis to play in the Lakers’ exhibition games at Phoenix on Wednesday and again at the Suns on Friday.
“They’ve been participating heavily in practice, and gonna sit these first two preseason games out,” Vogel said. “Hopefully (they) play in the final two preseason games, play some in Game 3 and more in Game 4. Get as close as possible to a dress rehearsal leading into the regular season.”
Lue seeing progress with Clippers
The steps the Clippers have been taking in training camp under new coach Ty Lue appear to be the right ones.
Lue likes how they are working hard and are attentive to his message.
So, Lue is seeing progress with his group, but he’s a coach and has worries because coaches always do.
The Lakers and Clippers opened the NBA preseason to a fan-free atmosphere at Staples Center that illuminated stark contrasts cast by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As a coach, you always feel like you’re behind, cause you always want to add stuff,” Lue said in a pregame videoconference Sunday from Staples Center. “But you don’t want to go to fast because you got to make sure guys are picking it up, making sure guys are comfortable at all the different positions because we have guys who play multiple positions. So, we just got to make sure we continue to get it down, continue to keep working on it, make sure we’re not moving too fast or too slow. We just got to find that balance of doing that. I think we will.”
Alex Caruso didn’t play because of what Vogel described as a “hip flexor strain” that was suffered in Friday night’s exhibition game against the Clippers…Lue said Marcus Morris “was not available” to play Sunday night. Morris missed the first exhibition game Friday night with knee soreness, Lue said.
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