A disappointing four-game road trip has been followed by more struggles for the Los Angeles Lakers, in large part to the absence of JaVale McGee and injuries to LeBron James and Rajon Rondo.
James is out an indefinite period and Rondo is projected to miss at least one month. Meanwhile, McGee is on the mend after suffering from flu-like symptoms and later being hospitalized three days for pneumonia.
He’s missed the past seven games, with the Lakers going 2-5 during that stretch. Included in it was Tyson Chandler missing a game because of back spasms.
Following a recent loss, James noted the importance of Chandler of McGee. “I continue to say our team is built on depth and energy,” he said. “We had both our big men out. They’ve been our MVPs so far for this year.”
The impact both McGee and Chandler have had on the Lakers this season can’t be questioned. McGee has been one of the league’s most improved players, finishing at the rim and being a force on defense. Chandler, likewise, has been huge in stabilizing the paint and providing leadership especially on the defensive end.
Ivica Zubac has filled in, doing so admirably in back-to-back starts. But his effectiveness has waned some since James or Rondo haven’t been on the court to help create easy looks for him.
Without key players available, the Lakers face a difficult stretch as they look to remain afloat in a competitive Western Conference.
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