With the 2021 All-Star Game officially in the books after Team LeBron defeated Team Durant, 170-150, all eyes are set for the second half of the season to begin later this week.
The first games are scheduled to tipoff on March 10, but for the Los Angeles Lakers, they don’t step onto the hardwood until Friday, March 12 when the Indiana Pacers come to Staples Center.
The Lakers have a slightly longer break than some teams, and as forward Jared Dudley explained, the squad was looking forward to the break to receive some time off.
LeBron James was the only Laker at the All-Star Game, so he still played a game during the break, but the 18-year veteran explained what his plans are until L.A. resumes play.
“Head back to L.A. and spend a couple days with my family and then start preparing,” James said. “I’m going to keep my body fresh, work out, train and just get ready for the second half.”
James added the four days off aren’t exactly sufficient, but he’ll still seek to benefit from the days off that weren’t often available in the first half of the season.
“Is it enough time? I’ll take any time, obviously,” James said. “So I’ll take full advantage of the time that we have. Is it enough time? No, it’s never enough time, but we’re not on the side of time. I’m not on the side of time. I’ll take full advantage of what I have and be okay with it.”
If the Lakers hope to defend their recent championship, they will need James at his best. He shouldered a heavy workload in the stretch just before the All-Star break as Anthony Davis and Dennis Schroder were out of the lineup, including a few games without Marc Gasol and Kyle Kuzma.
The second-half schedule won’t be a straightforward task, either. The Lakers have several back-to-back games, especially towards the end of the season. There’s also a 14-game stretch in which 11 of those games are on the road. The three games at home feature the Utah Jazz twice and the Boston Celtics.
Recuperating the coveted No. 1 seed will be strenuous, but as James has conveyed throughout his career, he is capable of leading any team to victory. Having a healthy roster alongside him, which the Lakers should have soon upon Davis’ return, shapes the battle in the West to be an intriguing one.
Lakers remain interested in Drummond if bought out
With Damian Jones’ 10-day contract set to expire, the Lakers will need to decide whether they want Jones to return or if other options are more palatable.
It’s no secret that L.A. could benefit from more size in the frontcourt to boost their title chances, and one name the Lakers have been paired with is Cleveland Cavaliers big man Andre Drummond. The rumors connecting the two continue to circulate as L.A. believes Drummond would sign if he is bought out from his contract.
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