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 Lakers visit the last-place Warriors at Chase Center. Pregame coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 6:30, with tipoff of the TNT telecast scheduled for 7:30.
The Warriors (12-46), 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 Magic on Jan. 18. The return of Draymond Green after a two-game absence should provide leadership and a degree of stability.
The Lakers (44-12) 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 Nuggets.
The Lakers won the first two of four meetings this season, posting s 120-94 rout on Nov. 13 in LA and holding off the Warriors for a 125-120 victory on Feb. 8 at Chase.
F – Kyle Kuzma
F – Anthony Davis
C – JaVale McGee
G – Danny Green
G – Avery Bradley
F – Andrew Wiggins
F – Draymond Green
C – Marquese Chriss
G – Damian Lee
G – Jordan Poole
Lakers: F Anthony Davis (L elbow soreness) is listed as probable. F LeBron James (groin soreness) is listed as out.
Warriors: G Stephen Curry (L hand fracture) and G Klay Thompson (L ACL rehab) are listed as out. 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 G/F Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, three inches shorter than the 6-8 Kuzma, at SF because KCP is a better defensive option against Wiggins . . . Kuzma’s 12.5 ppg ranks third on the team and No. 1 in scoring among LA reserves. Backup C Dwight Howard is No. 2 at 7.7 ppg . . . 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 loss came at Staples Center on opening night against the host Clippers . . . They average 7.0 blocks per game, with Davis at 2.5 pg, McGee at 1.5 pg and backup C Dwight Howard at 1.3 pg . . . If you’re looking for a vulnerable area, try these two: The Lakers are 14-9 when they shoot fewer FTs 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 PF . . . On the bench and healthy: C Dragan Bender, PG Ky Bowman, C/F Kevon Looney, SG Mychal Mulder and SF Juan Toscano-Anderson. Mulder was added to the roster Wednesday after signing a 10-day contract. He averaged 17.0 ppg in 39 games (34 starts) with the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the G League . . . Poole averaged 15.7 pts. over his last seven games, shooting 44.6 pct. 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 pts. over that stretch on 63.9 pct. 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, their highest since 2009-10, when they tried 49 starting lineups.
Officials: Ken Mauer (crew chief), Tyler Ford, Marat Kogut.