Heading into a four-game road trip, LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers were shorthanded without Brandon Ingram (sprained ankle) and Rajon Rondo (hand surgery).
While the Lakers had one of their best performances of the season against the Charlotte Hornets, they lost JaVale McGee (flu-like symptoms) and their next two games against sub-.500 teams, the Washington Wizards and Brooklyn Nets.
As the Lakers return home, all three players will have an opportunity to play in Friday’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans.
Despite the circumstances during the road trip, James is not throwing these games away and understands the importance of winning in the Western Conference, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“I don’t know if it was the last game or game before, I said our team is built on depth and energy. For the last couple games, we didn’t have our depth. Tonight, we had some energy but we didn’t have our depth. It’s great to be full and whole, but guys have to step up when guys are out. … We just got to continue to get better. We can’t take the losses and throw them away. Not in the wild, wild West when every game counts. When every game matters. We could’ve had a pretty good road trip, but going 1-3 was definitely not the way we would like to have it.”
With the Lakers currently 18-13 and fourth in the conference, seven games separate the Denver Nuggets (20-9, first) from the Utah Jazz (14-17, 14th). As a result, any sort of a losing streak can have a significant impact on the Lakers unlike the Eastern Conference.
Since the Lakers are playing the Pelicans next, all eyes will naturally be on Anthony Davis. Los Angeles has been consistently linked to Davis and James described the idea of playing with him ‘amazing and incredible.’