The Los Angeles Lakers are struggling in a major way at this time. In addition to Anthony Davis being out for some time, the Lakers have also been without guards Austin Reaves and Russell Westbrook the last two games, both of whom play major roles on this team. LeBron James also missed one game but was back on the court for the team’s contest against the Sacramento Kings.
Unfortunately, LeBron’s return was not enough to lift the Lakers to victory as the defense faltered mightily in Sacramento, allowing 134 points to the Kings including back-to-back 40-point quarters. In the end, the Lakers simply couldn’t keep up with the Kings and at points, it seemed like they were ready to give up.
But James is not using the Lakers’ missing players as an excuse. After the game, he spoke on the need for everyone on the team to be ready when their name is called, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“Your number is called you just gotta go out there and do your job. And do it at the highest capable ability each individual can do it and then let the chips fall where they may. We gotta do it as a collective group, obviously we have a lot of guys out. AD, Russ, Austin, a lot of our big minute guys, big rotation guys. We had other guys step up we just didn’t have enough.”
It has to be a total team effort to make up for the players the Lakers have been down. That is especially the case in regards to Davis who had been the Lakers’ best player this year, but even with Westbrook and Reaves the Lakers are losing a lot in their backcourt and everyone must be ready to step up.
But most important is that the Lakers never stop fighting. When down multiple players, the margin for error is gone and so the team’s effort and spirit can not afford to go down. This is something LeBron believes wholeheartedly:
“No. We can lose some key guys and feel for the individual, but the competitive spirit should never go. We should never lose the notion to wanna compete.”
If this Lakers team loses that competitive spirit, this season will spiral downhill very quickly. The Lakers already started off terribly, but were able to turn things around. Now they will have to do so again, but this time without their best player.
It will ultimately be on the leaders of the team, namely James himself, as well as the coaching staff, to ensure that fight does not leave this roster. It takes a total team effort to get these wins, but the leaders will have to hold everyone accountable and make sure everyone is giving everything they have towards the goal.
LeBron James insists media ask Rob Pelinka about potential Lakers trades
Something that could give the Lakers a boost, and James some help on the court, is a trade and the Lakers have been mentioned in trade rumors all season long. But despite seemingly having at least some say in the moves of the franchise, LeBron insists that questions of that manner be directed at Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka.
“Not a question for me,” LeBron said when asked following the Lakers’ win over the Washington Wizards. “I have no idea. I’m playing, I show up. Prepare, work, go to work. Get my guys ready to go win a basketball game. I play the game, I’m not in the front office. We’ll see, but I’m focused on the game, and that’s trying to win basketball games, especially when I’m out on the floor.”
Following this answer, LeBron implored the media to ask those same questions to Pelinka, who is in charge of all front office decisions. The Lakers star wants to be focused solely on the on-court product and nothing else.
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