The Los Angeles Lakers got back on track after defeating the Minnesota Timberwolves 112-104 to split their road trip.
The win was much needed after the Lakers discovered they would be without Anthony Davis until at least the All-Star break. Davis received an MRI after and was diagnosed with a calf strain that will keep him out for a minimum of two weeks.
“Just next man up and we’re not expecting one person to try to pick up A.D.’s productivity,” James said. “Nobody is going to be able to do that because he brings too much to the table, but we all can collectively do more.
“That’s our job, to come out and do more. The four guys we brought in during the offseason, they all did more tonight. D.S., Trezz, Wes and Marc picked up their play, and we needed that from every last one of them. We’re going to need that while A.D. is out.”
Los Angeles’ performance against Minnesota is a good blueprint to follow as James led the team with a double-double (30 points, 13 rebounds) while three other players scored in double figures.
Dennis Schroder, Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell will organically have more opportunities to score, while veterans Markieff Morris and Wesley Matthews will see more minutes.
The talent and depth of the roster was identified as a strength for the Lakers heading into the 2020-21 season, and Davis being out of the lineup should highlight whether or not that assessment was justified.
However, if L.A. is able to come together and play up to their level, they should be able to hold down the fort and stay near the top of the standings until Davis is able to return.
Frank Vogel expects Lakers to step up without Davis
Head coach Frank Vogel has had to find ways to re-configure his lineups and rotation to keep players involved, but with Davis now out that should not be as big of a problem. Vogel will be forced to lean on guys to fill Davis’ void, but like James, emphasized it is going to take a group effort.
“It’s more opportunities for everybody else,” Vogel said. “We’ve seen a lot of situations where the opposing team had key guys out, that other guys got opportunities. Whether it’s more shots, more minutes, more responsibility, and they step up.
“That’s going to be our mindset with this group. That our whole team has to step up. No one person is going to make up for what we miss with Anthony. It will be a team approach.”
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