Two of the Los Angeles Lakers‘ better guards during a very lucky 126-123 home victory over the Charlotte Hornets last night may not be available to help LA against one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference tomorrow night.
Per Jovan Buha, Lakers reserve guards Austin Reaves and Rajon Rondo have both joined the team’s injury report. They are new additions to the injury list this season:
The Lakers’ injury report for tomorrow’s game against Miami:
— LeBron James, Trevor Ariza, Talen Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nunn are out.
— Rajon Rondo (left hamstring strain) and Austin Reaves (left hamstring strain) are questionable.
— Anthony Davis is probable. pic.twitter.com/7tvFEf1BkC
— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) November 10, 2021
Both players have been listed as “questionable” due to left hamstring strains.
Rondo enjoyed by far his best game of the young season yesterday, energizing the Lakers with exquisite passing (he had eight assists in just 11 minutes) and helping to spark a 23-9 run during the second half of a crucial third quarter. Though he has notched a few DNP-CDs as a result of his awkward on-court fit with Russell Westbrook, Rondo still carries plenty of value in certain matchups. He was certainly pretty important against the Heat in the 2020 Finals. The rookie Reaves, meanwhile, has already emerged as one of the Lakers’ top wing defenders, due to the fact that he’s, you know, under 32 (he’s 23) and taller than 6’4″ (he’s 6’5″). In all seriousness, though, he’s been an important component for LA. A savvy defender and willing shooter, Reaves has seen his minutes on the rise lately. He played for 27:01 minutes yesterday, fourth-most on the team behind Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, and everyone’s favorite Laker, Carmelo Anthony (a.k.a. Staples Melo).
In ten games this season, Reaves is averaging 6.1 points per game, 2.0 rebounds per game, and one assist across 21.3 minutes. He is shooting 47.8% from the field and connecting on 32.1% of his 2.8 three-point looks a night.
Rondo is playing a more limited role. During 15.6 minutes a night (in seven contests), the 35-year-old guard is averaging 3.7 points, 4.4 assists, 1.9 rebounds and 1.0 steals a game, while shooting a terrible 28.9% (not a typo) from the field.
The 6-5 Lakers will be hosting the 7-3 Heat at Staples Center. Miami, the second seed in the Eastern Conference as of this writing, boasts two All-Star caliber studs in swingman Jimmy Butler and center Bam Adebayo. The Heat’s formidable backcourt players, Kyle Lowry, Duncan Robinson, and sixth man Tyler Herro, will give the Lakers all they can handle. Starting point guard Westbrook has proven to not be up to the task defensively (or, let’s be real, offensively) at all this season. Rondo and Reaves (but especially Reaves) have proven to be effective guards in bench roles for LA.
The duo joins still-injured guards Talen Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nunn, who are making a combined $14.5 million this season and have played a combined zero minutes through eleven games, on the sidelines. Forwards LeBron James and Trevor Ariza are still out with their injuries, though it appears All-Star big man Anthony Davis will be ready for a rematch against Adebayo.
Should one or both players be forced to ride the pine tomorrow night, this will most likely translate into more minutes for Avery Bradley and Wayne Ellington, two of the team’s better healthy defensive guards. Malik Monk, a streaky shooter and minus defender, could be pressed into service a bit more, as well.