The Los Angeles Lakers have had little luck keeping their roster healthy, as most of their key players have missed a significant number of games in 2021-22.
Among the many health problems L.A. has been struggling with, Anthony Davis is pausing with a mid-foot sprain having already missed over a month with an MCL injury. And LeBron James watched the 117-110 loss to the San Antonio Spurs from the sidelines due to lingering knee soreness, forcing him to sit out his 18th game this season.
“I feel like every time we win and get some momentum, something happens,” Russell Westbrook said, discussing James’ absence. “It’s been like that, I think we had a good game in Brooklyn or something and then Bron was out, and with AD, something happened after that and then he was out. When we play a good game, something always happens but that’s just how it’s been for us.
“But we got to keep plugging away, keep finding ways to pick each other up because some of that stuff is out of our hands and health is the most important thing for all of us as players as we play in this league and make sure that our bodies are where we need them to be able to go out and compete.”
Westbrook’s assessment on the Lakers’ injury woes is an accurate one, as L.A.’s Big 3 managed to play in just 20 games together — less than a third of the games the Purple and Gold have already played in 2021-22.
The 2017 NBA MVP emphasized how differently the Lakers have to play when both James and Davis can’t help them on the floor.
“It just changes the way we have to play, it changes a lot of things when you got two of your main guys out. It changes our philosophy, our defense, and how we play,” he said.
“A lot of guys have to make adjustments and find different ways to impact the game, so it definitely changes but we got to kind of stick to it and hopefully guys can step up and make that change.”
Malik Monk understands he needs to score more for Lakers when James is out
The Lakers tried hard to make up for the loss of their two leaders against the Spurs, overcoming a double-digit deficit to take the lead in the third. But they eventually ran out of gas, scoring just 18 points in the final quarter that led to a seven-point loss.
Malik Monk took some responsibility for the defeat, saying he should have scored more than the 17 points he recorded on Monday to help the Lakers cope with James’ absence.
“I got to hit a couple more shots. I can’t go 1-for-7 or 8-for-22,” Monk said.
“I take full responsibility on that. Not being LeBron [James], but taking a little bit more of a from when he’s there. But I can’t go 1-for-7.”
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