The Los Angeles Lakers’ victory over the Indiana Pacers was the first time in months that the team was completely healthy. LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Dennis Schroder all returned while Alex Caruso was available and suited up, but held out for precautionary reasons.
With so much attention on James’ return from injury and Davis rounding back into form, the absence of Schroder has been somewhat understated. Especially when James returned to the injured list after a brief return, having Schroder available to team with Davis would have helped soften the blow. Unfortunately Schroder was forced to miss two weeks due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
He discussed how he was feeling in his return to action. “I felt good,” Schroder said. “Doing some stuff at home a little bit. Been feeling great. Having everybody back as well, that felt good to get a win with the guys. … No issues.”
Schroder however, says his absence wasn’t due to a positive test on his part. “No, I didn’t test positive. I went to separate things to get tested, but it is what it is. I’m the only guy that didn’t get vaccinated, so I’m going to just leave it at that.”
Although Schroder’s answer was a bit unclear in regards to his status, he did reveal that he is the only player on the team that hasn’t gotten vaccinated and he doesn’t expect any issues in the postseason. He also spoke to how his family has been doing.
“No, I was fine. My family was fine. My friends at my house was fine. Everybody was healthy, everybody was good.”
Davis had recently revealed that he chose to receive the vaccine, but it looks as if the rest of the franchise was on the same page except Schroder. Whether or not that contributed to him having to miss as much time as he did due to contact tracing is unclear.
But that is all behind Schroder and the Lakers now as they are back on the court at full strength. Schroder provides the team another high-quality offensive player who can create for himself and others and whose speed is unmatched on the court.
With so many injuries up and down the roster, and new player additions made as well, the team as currently constructed hasn’t had much game time on the court together. Having that chemistry was essential to the Lakers’ success a year ago and the team is looking to build at least some of that back up in this final weekend of the regular season.
“Just try to get better. Every day you try to get better as a team. Find chemistry still. First game with all four of us with [Andre] Drummond back, AD, Bron and myself,” Schroder said of the team’s mindset.
“Just finding the chemistry we’re going to be good. Last regular-season game tomorrow. Try to get better, try to get that win and then go right into the playoffs, play-in game or whatever it is.”
Other teams such as the Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns, and Los Angeles Clippers have had most of the season to help come together, but the Lakers haven’t been afforded that opportunity due to a number of issues. They will be looking to accelerate that process in these last couple of games and their multitude of high IQ players could help them do so.
Vogel: Lakers looking at potential playoff opponents ahead of season finale
Once the Lakers finish out their season, their playoff road will begin, but exactly what that entails is completely unknown. If the Lakers are in the play-in game their first opponent isn’t even known as it could be either the Golden State Warriors or Memphis Grizzlies.
A win there could see them face either the Phoenix Suns or Utah Jazz in the first round. And there is still a chance they escape the play-in altogether and take on the Denver Nuggets in the first round. With so many possibilities, Frank Vogel admitted that the Lakers’ assistants are doing work on the different potential opponents.
“The assistant coaches are doing the work on potential playoff opponents,” Vogel said. “But for us, obviously we’re monitoring what the matchups could look like, but really controlling what we can control.”
What the Lakers can control is their performance in the final game of the regular season and wherever things land, they will simply go from there.
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