The losing streak continued for the Los Angeles Lakers on Christmas Day as the team dropped its fifth consecutive game, a seven-point loss to the Brooklyn Nets. As has been the case of late, the Lakers failed to come out with a victory despite the best efforts of LeBron James.
LeBron was again outstanding on Christmas, finishing with 39 points, nine rebounds, seven assists, and three steals in 40 minutes. The Lakers fought back from a 23-point deficit to tie the game late in the fourth quarter before ultimately falling, and LeBron finished the game a +9, which means the Lakers were outscored by 16 points in the eight minutes he was on the bench.
This has become a recurring theme for the Lakers over the past couple of weeks. When asked how the Lakers can improve the non-LeBron minutes, acting head coach David Fizdale had a wishful idea that would definitely solve the problem.
“Clone him,” Fizdale joked. “We can clone him. Do you know any good scientists? Maybe make a duplicate. I don’t know. We just got to figure that out. When we do have those gaps when he’s out of the game, how do we keep that momentum going offensively and defensively? We’ll keep looking at those stretches of the game, keep looking at ways to help our team.
“A lot of the time, it’s also a time where I got probably more guys on the court that don’t know each other right now, and offensively we probably get a little stagnant. Defensively we’re not totally connected, and teams are seizing on that unfamiliarity, I think, but I’m going to watch those gaps in the game obviously and analyze them. and really scrutinize them and see what we can do to help those groups out when he is out of the game.”
While that would be an excellent solution to the Lakers’ problems, the technology to pull that off doesn’t exist yet, so the Lakers will have to figure out something else to solve their issues. In the Lakers’ 18-point loss to the Suns, LeBron had a +/- of zero, which means the team was outscored by 18 points in 14 minutes he was on the bench.
“I’m kicking myself in the head because he’s giving me incredible effort,” Fizdale said. “I’m trying to figure out ways to get him over the hump with that effort. I hate that it’s wasted on losses. But it’s spectacular and I hate that it’s wasted on losses. To watch it and be a part of it, even though those games are turning into L’s, I’ve never seen anything like this guy.
“We better be sure as hell thanking our lucky stars for this guy. He has given the most beautiful basketball over the last however many years and he’s still giving it to us on Christmas Day.”
James has been absolutely unbelievable since his return from an abdominal injury and the level he has played at so far this season has been well beyond what could be reasonably expected from a player in his 19th season. But the Lakers have been unable to keep things together when he isn’t on the court and it is costing them game after game.
With Anthony Davis sidelined, much of that onus will now fall on Russell Westbrook, but it will take a collective effort to figure this out. The players must step up, and the coaching staff must figure out the best way to get the most out of the players available on the roster. If this can’t be figured out soon, the Lakers will continue to be a middle of the road team at best.
LeBron James passes Lakers legend Kobe Bryant as all-time Christmas Day scorer
In the midst of another outstanding performance on Christmas Day, James did make history as he surpassed Lakers legend Kobe Bryant to become the NBA’s all-time leading scorer on Christmas Day.
Kobe had 395 points in 16 games while LeBron now stands at 422 points in 16 games after his 39 point outing against the Nets.
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