The Los Angeles Lakers had a rough road trip, finishing 1-3 after a 116-107 loss to the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night. Frank Vogel’s team struggled on both ends of the floor in Washington and with the playoffs just around the corner, there are serious questions about the team’s ability to defend their championship.
Obviously the Lakers have been without its two superstars for much of the season, but Anthony Davis is now back in the lineup and it looks as if LeBron James may not be too far away as well. The team’s recent rough losses may bring concern to some, but Vogel wants his team to remain focused on what is ahead as opposed to their struggles.
“We just got to look forward,” the Lakers’ head coach said following their fourth loss in five games. “We got six out of our next eight at home, seven if you count the Clippers game, and we got to put this trip behind us and continue to work on what we’re doing. Reintegrate AD into our system playing alongside the other AD, Drum, and just put this trip behind us.”
Just getting Davis back up to speed is a tough task in itself, but it becomes tougher when having to reintegrate him next to a center he has little experience playing next to. The case will likely be the same once James returns to the lineup as well.
Furthermore, the return of these superstars pushes the team’s role players back into positions they haven’t been in for quite some time. Markieff Morris and Kyle Kuzma have thrived as starters but will need to get re-accustomed to bench roles while players such as Dennis Schroder, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Andre Drummond will need to take on lesser offensive roles despite remaining starters.
Regardless of who is in or out of the lineup, Vogel does expect the team to give maximum effort down the stretch of the season. “We try to win every game, that’s the mindset going down the stretch,” Vogel added.
“Compete to win every time we touch the floor, continue to work on building the chemistry that’s gonna be necessary for us to win in the playoffs and that won’t be any different in these final 10 games.”
James could return next week
Something that will definitely help the Lakers get back on track in the home strech of this season is their leader, LeBron James returning to the court. James has been out since the end of March due to a high ankle sprain and the team has struggled to stay afloat without him, as is to be expected.
But that could soon be coming to an end as it is believed James could return in as soon as a week. The 36-year old has been posting workouts on social media and seems to be ramping things up.
Considering the Lakers have matchups against three playoff teams next week including the Los Angeles Clippers, getting James back would be a more than welcome addition.
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