After defeating the Utah Jazz 128-117 on Sunday, the Los Angeles Lakers are set for a play-in tournament matchup with the Minnesota Timberwolves, which will take place on Tuesday at Crypto.com Arena in downtown Los Angeles.
Unfortunately for the Timberwolves, they will have to deal with an injury to one of their key players, as forward Jaden McDaniels suffered a fractured hand during their Sunday contest against the New Orleans Pelicans.
Minnesota Timberwolves F Jaden McDaniels — who was seen punching a wall on his way to the halftime locker room – has a fractured hand, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) April 9, 2023
The injury apparently occurred when McDaniels hit a wall out of frustration. Minnesota may be in a bit of disarray, as Rudy Gobert was also sent home after throwing a punch at forward Kyle Anderson.
McDaniels is considered one of the best defenders in the NBA, but even if he is unable to play on Tuesday, his team will be fully capable of knocking off the Lakers, as it boasts one of the league’s more explosive players in All-Star guard Anthony Edwards, as well as big man Karl-Anthony Towns, a three-time All-Star.
The Lakers may have been somewhat complacent on Sunday against the Jazz, but LeBron James looked like his old self, dropping 36 points to pace his team to victory. Anthony Davis only scored 16 points, but he also had 13 rebounds, four blocked shots and three steals.
With a 43-39 record, they rebounded nicely from a very poor 2-10 start this season, and they have played very well ever since the Russell Westbrook trade, as they have had one of the NBA’s best records during that span, as well as one of the league’s best defenses.
Los Angeles has been talked about as a potential championship contender over the last few weeks, as pundits and former players such as Jay Williams and Isiah Thomas have sung the team’s praises lately.
As long as the team is fully locked in, perhaps the sky will be the limit for it in the coming weeks.