The Lakers were on the road again this past week playing the New Orleans Pelicans, Chicago Bulls, Toronto Raptors and the Memphis Grizzles. Everyone knew that this road trip was going to be tough for the Lakers considering it was the only time this season that they would have to play four games in five days.
The Lakers were only able to win one of the four games and did so by doing what they have done all season, winning a game that no one picked them to win against the Bulls.
This road trip started off with a bad game in New Orleans against a rejuvenated Pelicans team. Jure Holiday has provided his team the spark they needed after a terrible start to the season. The Lakers were never really in the game against the Pelicans and ended up losing by 17 points.
The next night Julius Randle helped Los Angeles beat a Chicago Bulls team they had faced only ten days before. Randle was able to bring down 20 rebounds and help his team win the ugliest game of the season.
In Toronto, the Raptors showed why they are a team that should be taken seriously. The Raptors had five players score 13+ points and held the Lakers to 80 points. Toronto showed their dominance early in this game and never let go of the lead.
The last game of the trip came against the Memphis Grizzles. The Lakers were in the lead for most of this game, but the Grizzles never fell too far behind. Memphis showed that they have more defensive discipline and were able to win the game 103-100.
The 19-year old prospect was able to show improvements with the increased playing time on this road trip. Luke Walton gave Ingram the opportunity to step into the starting lineup to replace Nick Young and Ingram was able to show Laker fans his ability to defend one of the players in the league like Jimmy Butler.
He was also able to demonstrate some of his offensive ability, setting a new career high by scoring 17 points on 50 percent shooting against the Toronto Raptors. NBA analysts everywhere salivate over Ingram’s game and feel that the Lakers have a future star in the making. Hopefully, we see the beginnings of this superstardom.
The former Sixth Man of the Year is showing he is capable of taking back his crown. Williams led the Lakers in scoring on three of the four games and ended the trip by dropping 40 points on Tony Allen, one of the best defenders in the league. He followed it up by scoring 38 against the Jazz.
Williams is averaging a team-leading 18.4 points per game and the Lakers will need Williams to continue to step up while the Lakers injuries keep piling up. Los Angeles needs Williams to provide leadership to their effective bench unit because without the bench unit’s production the Laker’s might be looking at a lot more losses in the coming weeks.
The veteran forward has looked as old as a World War II veteran on the basketball court this year. Deng has been a disappointment to many Laker fans this season, who hoped he was going to be the Luol Deng that was a lockdown defender and could of hit an open jump shot, but Deng has had his ups and downs.
Even on this past road trip, he scored five points, 2 points, 10 points and then 18 points. Even still, those last couple of games are an improvement. With the Lakers playing short-handed, they will need players like Deng to keep defenses honest and open up the court for players like Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson.
‘Uncle P’ has been the talk of the town this year with ascension to the starting lineup. The first game of the road trip Young went down with a calf strain and the Lakers offensive has struggled. Young has averaged six three-pointers a game.
The Lakers were only able to reach the 100 point mark once in his absence, against the Grizzles when Lou Williams scored 40 points. Because the Lakers do not have a star they depend on everyone to contribute, so when someone like Young goes out it hurts the offense tremendously.
The former second-round draft pick has shot under 30% from the field in three of last four games, all games the Lakers lost, and in the one game, he shot 50% from the field the Lakers won.
Clarkson averages 3.5 more points, 1.6 more assists and 0.9 more rebounds in victories. Being a part of that great bench that can pull the Lakers out of big holes and extend leads when we have them, the Lakers can’t afford Clarkson to play inefficiently.
If the Lakers want to survive this injury bug they need players like Jordan Clarkson to step up and provide in the absences of key players.
The Spaniard has been starting in place of D’Angelo Russell and has been playing to the best of his ability. Calderon was the last Laker to succumb to the injury bug and leaves the Lakers very thin at point guard.
Just like Nick Young, Calderon is able to spread the floor and provide space for the offense. Marcelo Huertas must now come in and help the Lakers ball movement and hit a few threes if they hope to stop the bleeding from this road trip.