The Los Angeles Lakers suffered their worst defeat in franchise history last Sunday, a 122-73 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. A win last Friday against the Indiana Pacers is the only victory in the last seven games for the Lakers.
The biggest loss of the week was another injury to starting point guard, D’Angelo Russell. An MRI revealed an MCL sprain and a calf strain and is expected to miss up to two weeks. This is going to be the second time this season where Russell will miss significant time due to injury.
Currently, there is not much to be happy about the way the Lakers are playing. Hopefully they can regroup soon and start playing at a high level.
Here is what is trending up and trending down with the Lakers.
Zubac has been a bright spot for the Lakers since he has been given more playing time. Against the Nuggets he finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds. Lakers coach Luke Walton also left him in the game during crunch time. Zubac showed he can make an impact even though he is still only a rookie.
Although he lacks strength, he makes up for it with his high basketball IQ. As he gets older he will become stronger and smarter. Hopefully he is given more playing time moving forward so he can gain more experience.
The bench for the Lakers has been the team’s saving grace this season. When the starters don’t play well, the bench often compensates for their lack of production. Lou Williams and Jordan Clarkson have led the way for the second unit. Williams currently leads the team in scoring and Clarkson isn’t far behind.
The bench has proven they can carry the team when needed. Although it is unusual for starters to be outscored by the bench in most games, this season’s Lakers need all the help they can get to wins.
The Lakers are a young team that goes through its share of ups and downs, but inconsistency has been their biggest obstacle all season. Some quarters they play well and the next, they look like an entirely different team. Injuries to Russell, Larry Nance Jr., and other important players have not helped their cause. Many times this season they have started the game out well, but get completely outplayed the rest of the way.
Against the Mavericks on Sunday afternoon the Lakers trailed by seven points at the end of the of the first quarter, but were outscored 38-11 in the second quarter. Their inconsistency has caused a lot of frustration because they have shown flashes of their potential, and for them to play have performances like Sunday is disappointing.
It’s no secret that the Lakers struggle defensively, but their play on that end of the court as of late has been dreadful to say the least. Numerous times they have allowed opposing teams to score 120-plus points and most of those have ended in double digit losses.
Against the Denver Nuggets and Mavericks last week, the Lakers allowed 127 and 122 points respectively. Allowing that many points makes it extremely difficult to get a victory in this league. In order to have success the Lakers need to play defense and by doing so it gives them a chance be competitive.
Last week was a tough one for Randle. He had 30 points combined in the three games played. That type of production is not going to get it done for himself or the Lakers moving forward. Although he has been one of the best players this season, he still has a lot of room for improvement.
Hopefully he can play to his potential for the rest of the season. The Lakers need for all of their players, especially Randle, to play at a high level to be successful.