The Los Angeles Lakers have lost two games in a row without Anthony Davis and Dennis Schroder. While their defense remains strong, the offense has been searching for some life, and LeBron James has felt the effects of that.
In his 18th season, James continues to demonstrate just how phenomenal of a basketball player he still is. Currently averaging 25.6 points, 8.2 rebounds and 7.9 assists while shooting 50.2% from the field and 36.2% from deep, he is once again in the league’s MVP conversation.
However, as Davis and Schroder, two of the Lakers’ best players, remain sidelined, James’ on-court impact couldn’t be more significant. Given the circumstances, what the 36-year-old star has produced in the last two games has been nothing short of spectacular.
Against Brooklyn, James posted 32 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Against Miami, his shot deserted him, but James found different avenues to make an impact, finishing with 19 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.
Despite the losses, James is focused on adjusting to the Lakers’ needs as injuries and health concerns have ushered him into an even bigger role.
“Just staying openminded about whatever my teammates need, whatever the coaching staff needs, whatever the personnel I’m playing with needs at that particular time, and always having a growth mindset and not settling,” he said.
“I think that’s what it all boils down to and right now is another challenge for me to be able to adjust.”
Without Davis’ gravity on offense that requires significant attention, opposing defenses are pivoting that attention towards James to slow him down. But James is trying to finding ways to beat the defense’s plan in order to extract victories.
“Not having A.D. for a long period of time is something that we haven’t had over the last year and a half,” James said. “Now it’s time for me to adjust again and see ways I can be even more effective to help this team win ballgames. That is the sport that we’re in. We’re in the winning business, and I’ve always been a winner. It’s time to click into that.”
Lakers need more from lineups without LeBron James
The onus has shifted to Los Angeles’ role players to increase their production to assist James in winning games. However, as the last two games have indicated, they’re not stepping up as L.A. would like.
Head coach Frank Vogel said lineups when James is on the bench need more organization.
“‘Bron, he commands the ball and obviously runs the show, so there’s a natural void,” Vogel said.
“It’s just one of those things we have to be mindful of. Making sure that we’re organized and giving a plan to those guys that are in there. Because like I said, we have plenty of firepower to win those minutes. Especially on the defensive side of the ball.”
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