The Los Angeles Lakers have fallen on hard times once again this season. NBA Health and Safety protocols have knocked out a significant number of major rotation players, and it has put LeBron James in a particularly rough spot, needing a superhuman effort just to keep L.A. afloat.
Since the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak began ravaging the Lakers roster, they are 1-3, with their only win coming against a Luka Doncic-less Dallas Mavericks. They’ve lost three straight, most recently a blowout against the red-hot and championship contending Phoenix Suns.
James knows that the losing cannot continue, giving some advice to his Lakers teammates about what to do amid a difficult part of their season.
“Just stay together,” he said after the loss to the Suns. “Obviously, we know we’re in a rough patch right now with guys coming back from injury, guys in and out of protocol, guys that’s injured. Just stay together until we become whole or as close to whole as possible. We got a lot of guys out right now, but I love our fight. I thought we had a good fight tonight, we just couldn’t make enough plays.”
The Lakers played a really solid first half against a far more put-together Suns roster. However, it wasn’t enough as they fell back to .500 after getting some breathing room earlier this month. James took a zoomed in approach on the Lakers’ three-game skid.
“We take every game as its own challenge and obviously we don’t know where we are as far as the lineups. Guys in and out. We don’t know because of the protocol, so it’s definitely great to get THT back tonight. He obviously been out for a while, so his rhythm was off. You could see in the game, but it’s good to get another body back. So as the bodies continue to come back hopefully we can get as close to whole as possible in the near future.”
Against the Suns, the Lakers were without Kent Bazemore, Avery Bradley, Malik Monk, Austin Reaves, Kendrick Nunn and Anthony Davis. Some of these are monumental losses given the rotation the Lakers deploy when fully healthy.
Obviously Davis won’t be back for a significant amount of time, but getting Reaves, Monk and Bradley back would be hugely helpful in shoring up their guard rotation. That figures to happen sometime in the next few days.
Until then, the Lakers still should have enough to win games against most teams in the league. Perhaps the top teams like the Suns are out of reach, but against the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday, L.A. can grab a win even if they are missing multiple players.
James discusses Carmelo Anthony ejection
One of the turning points in the Lakers’ loss to the Suns was Carmelo Anthony Being ejected after arguing a call with an official. James tried to understand both sides of the argument when discussing the moment.
“We were making a good run, but at the end of the day, he had a valid point. Obviously, you don’t ever want to get tossed and lose a guy, but if you look at the replay, he got hit in the ribs when you’re shooting a jump shot. The ref literally didn’t call it. Not saying it’s okay to ever be tossed, but he had a point and he had a reason for it.”
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