To begin their playoff push for the 2018-19 NBA season, LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Houston Rockets by overcoming a 19-point deficit.
As the Lakers found their defensive intensity in the second half against the Rockets, they were looking forward to sustaining it on a two-game road trip against the New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies.
Unfortunately, James and the Lakers lost to the Pelicans, 128-115, who were playing without Anthony Davis.
With little margin for error at this point of the season, James anticipated these types of challenges when he signed a four-year, $154 million contract in free agency, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“I knew it was going to be very challenging just because of the experience the roster had at that point of time. I knew it was going to be challenging from that sense, but I felt like we could still play better basketball. And we was doing that and obviously, it sucks that my injury happened and Zo’s injury happened.”
Along with James missing 17 consecutive games due to a groin strain injury, he hopes Lonzo Ball’s eventual return will help the Lakers:
“The injuries have looked like it has taken a toll on our team, so hopefully, we can get ‘Zo back soon to kind of help that out. Hopefully, we can start playing a little better, too. Having a point guard out, our turnovers have went up.”
Since Ball suffered a Grade 3 ankle sprain against the Houston Rockets on Jan. 19, the Lakers’ defense has been one of the worst in the league. While Ball originally had a four to six week timetable, that may be further delayed due to a bone bruise.
With 23 games remaining, the Lakers are currently 3.5 games back of the Clippers for the eighth and final spot in the Western Conference.
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