The Los Angeles Lakers finally snapped a four-game losing streak on Tuesday night with a victory over the Orlando Magic. Six players scored double-figures, including Russell Westbrook, who finished with 15 points, 13 rebounds and 13 assists.
The win moves the Lakers to 14-20 overall, but just 2-4 since Anthony Davis suffered a stress injury in his right foot. With it remaining likely that Davis misses significant time, the Lakers have to figure out a way to win games consistently in his absence.
Following the win against the Magic, Westbrook was asked what the challenge has been playing without Davis through six games and what he and LeBron James have had to do in his absence, via Westbrook on Spectrum SportsNet:
“I mean, you can’t replace Anthony Davis. We know that. The team collectively has to make sure that we come together and play the right way. Try to get some wins and hold it down until he comes back.”
James and Westbrook played phenomenally in the Lakers’ 129-110 victory over the Magic. But more impressively, Lonnie Walker IV (10), Troy Brown Jr. (15), Patrick Beverley (14) and Thomas Bryant (21) all scored in double figures as well.
Westbrook talked about what he saw from the team’s role players that he liked and wants to emphasize moving forward.
“Just the confidence, I mean the confidence is big. It’s a long season, there are going to be ups and downs, but each night as leaders of the team you’ve got to make sure you instill confidence in other guys. And to see them do well always puts a smile on my face. I’m happy they had a good game tonight.”
The Lakers have put together several quality performances this season that involved a balanced attack. However, with Davis out of the lineup for the foreseeable future, those performances are going to need to come more consistently.
It starts on Wednesday night, when the Lakers face the Miami Heat on the second night of a back-to-back. The Heat are a quality opponent, but have shown significant weaknesses this season, including depth. Bam Adebayo is questionable with an illness, and his absence would certainly make life easier for L.A.
Beverley calls for collective improvement defensively
In the six games since Davis’ injury, the Lakers have not had anywhere near their desired results defensively. They’ve given up 124.8 points per game and are just 2-4. Beverley, the defensive anchor on the perimeter, spoke to the collective effort the team needs to have on defense without Davis.
Davis had cleaned up plenty of defensive messes, playing at an elite level through the moment of his injury. Now, L.A. has to find a different way to get stops.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!