The Los Angeles Lakers have fallen into a disturbing pattern ever since they lost LeBron James to a groin strain on Christmas. They build up early leads behind strong play from their youngsters. Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram rack up stats. And then, with a lead built in the second half, they collapse. They did so against the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday, allowing a 22-0 run from the Clippers to steal the game. The same thing happened against the Sacramento Kings on Thursday, when the Lakers let a 15-point fourth quarter lead slip through their fingers.
But now they have a chance for revenge against the Kings. They are still dealing with many of the same drawbacks. James is still injured. Rajon Rondo is out after having hand surgery. JaVale McGee isn’t back to 100 percent yet. What this game will test is the emotional fortitude of these young Lakers. Will they seize the added motivation revenge offers? Can they bounce back from two ugly losses? We are about to find out. Here are the projected starting lineups for both sides.