The Los Angeles Lakers kick off the final stretch of the season within striking distance of a playoff spot. But Darvin Ham’s team will need both LeBron James and Anthony Davis playing at their best if they plan on making a run during these final 23 games of the year.
For the most part, LeBron and Davis playing at a high level hasn’t been the problem, but rather them being on the court period. Both Lakers stars have missed chunks of games this season and with James in his 20th season and Davis having a lengthy injury history, it has become standard to do some load managing for each of them.
But with the Lakers’ playoff hopes at stake, Ham doesn’t expect any of that down the stretch. “Yeah, barring any type of injury, I don’t see anyone being out of the lineup,” Ham said prior to the Lakers’ Thursday night contest against the Golden State Warriors.
“Obviously we’ll have to cross those bridges when we come to them, but from my gut and talking to the guys and everybody getting excited about the new additions, excited about the potential we have and the run we can go on in the next 23 games, we’ll manage how we need to manage on non-game days. But I expect everybody to be suited up.”
Coming out of the All-Star break the team is saying all of the right things about what they need to do in this stretch. The team is at full strength and Ham, LeBron, Davis and the rest of the Lakers know that they can not afford to be at anything other than that to get where they want to be at the end of the season.
The Lakers got off to a good start with their full complement of players in their final game before All-Star Weekend, comfortably beating the New Orleans Pelicans. They then crushed the Warriors in their first game out of the breal. Now, they will need to maintain that level of play, otherwise they will find themselves at home during the postseason once again.
Anthony Davis says Lakers are ‘ready to go’ after All-Star break
Outside of James, the rest of the Lakers had no involvement during All-Star Weekend in Salt Lake City. But Davis saw that as a good thing.
The Lakers’ star big man spoke about the break, noting that it allows for both a physical and mental break away from the game and for the team to come back refreshed. Furthermore, Davis was happy with what he saw from the Lakers in practice and believes they are ready to go for the stretch run.
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