SAN FRANCISCO -- The Warriors haven’t won a home game in nearly six weeks, but the absence of LeBron James on Thursday leaves ajar the door to victory.
Slightly ajar, we should say.
James will be on the sideline nursing a groin injury when the Western Conference-leading Los Angeles Lakers (44-12) visit the last-place Warriors (12-46) at Chase Center. Pregame coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 6:30 p.m., with tipoff of the TNT telecast scheduled for 7:30.
The Warriors, in the midst of a seven-game losing streak, also have dropped their last seven at home, the last win being a 109-95 throttling of the Orlando Magic on Jan. 18. Draymond Green's return after a two-game absence should provide leadership and a degree of stability.
The Lakers have won six consecutive games and have stated the goal of securing the No. 1 seed in the conference. LA entered Thursday with a five-game lead over the second-place Denver Nuggets.
The Warriors lost the first two matchups of the season, including a 120-94 Lakers rout on Nov. 13 in LA and a narrow 125-120 victory on Feb. 8 at Chase.
F Danny Green
F Anthony Davis
C JaVale McGee
G Rajon Rondo
G Avery Bradley
F Marquese Chriss
F Draymond Green
C Dragan Bender
G Damian Lee
G Jordan Poole
Lakers: F Anthony Davis (left elbow soreness) is listed as probable. F LeBron James (groin soreness) is listed as out.
Warriors: G Stephen Curry (left hand fracture) and G Klay Thompson (left ACL rehab) are listed as out. F Andrew Wiggins (upper back spasms) was a late scratch. F/C Alen Smailagic is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the G League.
Lakers: With James out, Kuzma likely will get his seventh start of the season. Another option available to coach Frank Vogel would be to insert wing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, three inches shorter than the 6-foot-8 Kuzma, at small forward because KCP is a better defensive option against Wiggins. ... Kuzma’s 12.5 points per game rank third on the team and No. 1 in scoring among LA reserves. Backup center Dwight Howard is No. 2 at 7.7 points per game. ... James has missed only two previous games this season, with the Lakers splitting those games. ... The Lakers are undefeated (17-0) against Western Conference teams away from LA. Their lone "road" loss came at Staples Center on opening night against the host Clippers. ... They average 7.0 blocks per game, with Davis at 2.5, McGee at 1.5 and backup Howard at 1.3 per game. ... If you’re looking for a vulnerable area, try these two: The Lakers are 14-9 when they shoot fewer free throws than opponents, and they are 3-4 when featured on TNT.
Warriors: The return of Green, who has missed 16 games this season, sends rookie Eric Paschall back to the bench after two starts at power forward. ... On the bench and healthy: Center Dragan Bender, point guard Ky Bowman, big man Kevon Looney, shooting guard Mychal Mulder and small forward Juan Toscano-Anderson. Mulder was added to the roster Wednesday after signing a 10-day contract. He averaged 17.0 points per game in 39 games (34 starts) with the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the G League. ... Poole averaged 15.7 points over his last seven games, shooting 44.6 percent from the field, including 23.9 percent from distance. ... Chriss has scored in double figures in 11 of his last 13 games, averaging 14.2 points over that stretch on 63.9 percent shooting from the field. ... The last Warriors rookie to post more than 40 games with at least 10 points was Klay Thompson in 2011-12. With 24 games remaining, Paschall has 36 such games. ... The Warriors have utilized 29 different starting lineups this season. That's their highest since 2009-10, when they tried 49 starting lineups.
Officials: Ken Mauer (crew chief), Tyler Ford, Marat Kogut.