The Lakers (16-17) have lost four straight games for the first time this season following their 138-110 defeat to the San Antonio Spurs this past Thursday night. This evening, they will match up with the visiting Brooklyn Nets (21-9). The Christmas Day contest will be live at 5:00 p.m. PT on ABC/ESPN.
Here are three things to know ahead of the game:
WHO’S IN, WHO’S OUT
Both teams enter tonight dealing with major hits to their lineup due to Covid-19. The Lakers did receive some good news this Christmas morning as both Avery Bradley and Malik Monk cleared the health and safety protocols and will be active.
The Lakers get both Malik Monk and Avery Bradley back from health and safety protocols, and both are available to play against Brooklyn today.
That leaves Ariza, Bazemore and Reaves as the three players still in protocols.
— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) December 25, 2021
L.A. will still be without Trevor Ariza, Kent Bazemore, and Austin Reaves because of health and safety protocols in addition to Anthony Davis and Kendrick Nunn who are both dealing with knee injuries.
On Brooklyn’s side, the major news was announced yesterday when it was revealed that Kevin Durant will not play tonight after not clearing the league’s health and safety protocols.
James Harden cleared protocols and will be available to play in a lineup that will only feature 10 players for the Nets. Additionally, Paul Millsap, Bruce Brown, and James Johnson all cleared protocols on Friday.
The Nets will be without Kyrie Irving, LaMarcus Aldridge, David Duke Jr., Kessler Edwards, Joe Harris, Day’Ron Sharpe, and Cam Thomas.
The Nets have not played since Dec. 18 (a 100-93 loss to the Orlando Magic) and had their last three games cancelled due to an outbreak.
NEW (BUT LOCAL) FACES
Amid the Lakers outbreak, the team signed veteran guard Darren Collison and forward Stanley Johnson to 10-day contracts pursuant to the NBA Hardship Exception provisions yesterday.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 24, 2021
Collison was born in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, and played high school basketball at Etiwanda. He is notably remembered for the four years he played at UCLA (2005-09) where he was a two-time First-team All-Pac-10 (2007, 2009) and played in 142 games for the Bruins (tied for the most ever in school history).
He was selected 21st overall by the New Orleans Hornets in the 2009 NBA draft and played for four other teams in his NBA career including, Indiana, Dallas, Los Angeles Clippers, and Sacramento.
Collison’s career averages include 12.5 points, 2.7 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.2 steals per game.
Johnson was born in Anaheim, CA, and played his high school ball at Mater Dei (Santa Ana, CA). The Fullerton native played one season at Arizona before he was selected 8th overall by Detroit in the 2015 NBA draft.
Johnson has played for New Orleans and Toronto and signed with the South Bay Lakers back on Nov. 15, where he has played in six games, averaging 15.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 2.2 steals per game.
CHRISTMAS DAY AND LBJ
The Lakers will be playing in their 47th Christmas Day in franchise history. The team has an overall record of 24-23 (the most wins out of any other NBA franchise: Knicks are second with 22 wins).
L.A. has won three of their last five games played on the holiday including last season’s victory, a 138-115 win over Dallas.
LeBron James made his Christmas Day debut during his rookie season with Cleveland back in 2003 (a 113-101 OT loss to Orlando). Tonight’s game will mark the 16th time (15 straight seasons) LBJ has played on the holiday and will tie Kobe Bryant for most games played on Christmas Day.
LeBron played eight games with Cleveland, four games with Miami and three as a Laker.
In those games, James is averaging 25.5 points, 7.6 rebounds, 7.1 assists, and 1.5 steals while shooting 48.4 percent from the field and 29.4 percent from beyond the arc. He’s posted 12 20-point games, including four 30-point games, and has recorded seven double-doubles and just one triple-double.
LeBron enters tonight’s contest just 13 points shy of passing Kobe Bryant for most points scored on Christmas Day (Kobe is the current leader with 395 points).