The Los Angeles Lakers have fallen to the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference and could continue to slide in the final 12 games of the regular season. Most of their losses have come because of health issues, as Anthony Davis and LeBron James have each missed massive chunks of the season.
Despite Davis’ recent return to the lineup, the Lakers dropped back-to-back games to the Dallas Mavericks without James on the floor. This put them at a slim 1.5 game lead over the Mavericks for No. 6 in the conference, and a lack of offensive rhythm and chemistry has seemingly been the problem.
Davis believes that getting fully healthy will help spark the Lakers on the court, as their off-court chemistry has remained fantastic throughout the year.
“First it’s just gonna take everyone getting healthy,” Davis said. “Everyone getting healthy will definitely help our chemistry on the floor. I think our chemistry off the floor is tremendous, but on the floor we haven’t had a lot of games with one another because of injuries.
“So that’s gonna help just everyone getting back healthy and being available to play. And like you said, we’re gonna have to find ways to win. It might not be pretty every time but we’re still a great defensive team. We got to hang our hats on that until we find our rhythm offensively, especially me.”
The Lakers have only had James and Davis in the starting lineup together for 23 games this season. In those games, the Lakers are 17-6, a .739 win percentage. Getting James and Davis back in the lineup healthy should solve plenty of rhythm and movement issues on offense.
Until then — and even once James returns — the Lakers will remain focused on their defensive identity, as it has been what has carried them through the past couple months of the season. When the playoffs come, they know they’ll be able to rely on their defense when the shots simply aren’t falling.
Kuzma discusses sacrifice needed to win championship
With the Lakers being one of the deepest teams in the NBA, there will be nights — especially in the postseason — where important players like Montrezl Harrell are benched. Kuzma spoke about his benching and the sacrifice it takes to win it all. “It’s all about sacrifice. That’s something I really learned about last year,” he said.
“I think that’s something I struggled with last year. I was hard on myself and down a little bit, but I had great teammates that stuck with me and I figured it out. Now is not the time to be harping on yourself and if you don’t play you don’t play. Just cheer on your teammate. We’re trying to win championships right now. That’s the window that we’re in. It’s at all costs. If you don’t play, you don’t play.”
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