When the Los Angeles Lakers suited up against the Chicago Bulls on Sunday, their team was nearly unrecognizable from previous weeks. While staples like LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony were in the lineup, L.A. was without Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard, Austin Reaves, Talen Horton-Tucker, Avery Bradley, Kendrick Nunn, Malik Monk and Kent Bazemore.
It was a hard-fought game with some of the best effort of the year from the Lakers, but they ultimately lost 115-110 behind a remarkable night from DeMar DeRozan. Anthony had one of his better performances of the season as well, scoring 21 points and grabbing five rebounds while being the only Laker with a positive plus-minus.
Anthony gave his thoughts on what has been a tumultuous road trip for the Lakers and what they need to do moving forward.
“Strange. Tough,” Anthony described it. “Not knowing who’s going to be in, not knowing who’s going to be out. Again, those are things we can’t control. Next-man up,” Anthony said. “We got to figure this out, but it’s not just us. It’s everybody.
“Chicago came off of two canceled games. They had a bunch of guys in protocol. It’s going around the league, it’s going around other leagues. This is reality, this is life. This is something that we have to deal with not just as basketball players, but as people in society. These are things that we’re dealing with right now.”
Sunday’s win against the Lakers was the Bulls’ first game in nearly a week, as they had their two previous games postponed due to a coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in their locker room. Anthony has no interest in using excuses and points out the Bulls’ struggles to say the Lakers are not the only team dealing with this.
Specifically, Anthony had issues with the team’s rebounding effort over their last couple of games.
“Rebounding is not something that you go work on. That’s effort. That’s a will to wanting to go get the rebound. Tonight, down the stretch, we missed some big offensive rebounds. [Javonte] Green got one, somebody else got a tip-out rebound. Those are the things that that’s on us as players. Coach can’t draw nothing up to try to help rebound. Nobody else can go out there and do it for you, we have to go out there and do that.
“That was on us as far as offensive rebounding goes. That was on us as players.”
If the Lakers want to salvage their season, they have to stay afloat while missing most of their role players. It doesn’t mean winning every game, but it means fighting hard and picking up a couple wins in the process.
Yes, rebounding is going to suffer with Davis and Howard out of the lineup, but the players who are available need to do some work to pick up the slack. Otherwise, it could dig L.A. a very deep hole nearly halfway through the season.
Ariza feeling good after debut
In some positive injury news, the Lakers finally got Trevor Ariza into the lineup for his season debut on Sunday. He didn’t fill up the stat sheet, but looked solid on both ends of the court and showed his value to the Lakers.
He spoke about how he felt physically after the game.
“I felt pretty good. Obviously, being out for so long, it takes a bit of time to catch up to the speed of the game, but for the most part, I felt really good. My wind felt pretty good. Unfortunately, we didn’t win, but I feel like we got better today.”
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