The Los Angeles Lakers were shorthanded once again and it led to a disappointing loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night.
The Lakers managed to rally from a 19-point first-half deficit to take a lead in the third quarter but fell apart in the fourth quarter as they couldn’t do anything on either end of the floor. The result is unfortunate, but it was almost expected as Los Angeles was without LeBron James or Anthony Davis.
Prior to the game against the Nets, Darvin Ham explained that Davis’ absence was planned but revealed that James is dealing with a foot issue, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“That was the original plan for AD just to not have him play back-to-back at this point. And then Bron just managing his foot. He’s been experiencing some really significant soreness and so thought it’d be a good idea to kind of ease off him a little and let his body calm down specifically his foot.”
James has been fighting foot soreness throughout the 2022-23 season, and it seems that it was enough to rule him out for a game against a Brooklyn squad that was without Kevin Durant and Ben Simmons. James has been playing heavy minutes the past couple of months as he tries to lead the Lakers back into the playoff mix, but it appears it’s catching up to him now.
The good news is that James is expected to return Tuesday against the New York Knicks, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
LeBron James will play tonight against the New York Knicks, sources told ESPN. It will be his first game at Madison Square Garden since January 2020.
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 31, 2023
The Lakers can ill-afford to lose James for any stretch of time considering they’re a few games back of the final Play-In Tournament spot, so it’s good to see that he will be back on Tuesday. James has stated on multiple occasions how much he loves playing in Madison Square Garden and now will get to do so for the first time since 2020.
This will be a very important game for L.A. as each loss feels magnified at this point and the issue is only exacerbated with the Lakers having one of the toughest schedules remaining. With James ailing and the trade deadline right around the corner, the front office has to feel pressure to make a move to keep their postseason hopes alive.
Rob Pelinka on if he will consult LeBron James and Anthony Davis ahead of trade deadline
Rob Pelinka has already executed one deal ahead of the trade deadline, acquiring Rui Hachimura in exchange for Kendrick Nunn and three second-round picks. While that was a great move, it’s still not enough to bring the Lakers into contender status.
As far as gathering input from James and Davis, Pelinka said they’ll always be involved in front office matters but ultimately it’s up to him to find the right deals.
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