Without Anthony Davis in the lineup, the Los Angeles Lakers have floundered. The Lakers dropped their fourth consecutive game after losing to the Dallas Mavericks on Christmas Day, a woeful showing on the national television stage.
The Lakers played well in the first half, but after the Mavericks made adjustments in the second half, they never looked back. Dallas blitzed Los Angeles in the third quarter, scoring 51 points which later prompted Darvin Ham to call it a completely unacceptable performance.
When LeBron James rested, Ham tried a few different lineups including an all-guard lineup featuring Austin Reaves as the tallest player on the court. After the loss, James admitted that without Davis it’s been hard to make up the deficiencies in the front court, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
“Reality is, without AD, we lose a lot of length, which we don’t have already,” James said. “So we have to make up in ways that, without AD, is very difficult, very challenging. So, I think at one point we had a lineup of I think [Austin Reaves, at 6-5] was the tallest guy on the court.
“So, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure it out [that Davis is sorely missed].”
Since Davis was ruled out with a stress injury in his foot, the Lakers have gone 1-4 in their past five games and it’s hard to imagine things getting much better. L.A. has four more games remaining on their current road trip but then have a tough schedule in January.
The lack of viable big men on the roster after Davis was another common critique in the offseason, though at least Thomas Bryant and Wenyen Gabriel have played well in their stints. However, those two can’t possibly make up Davis’ production which puts more of the burden on James to pick up the slack.
Right now, the only thing the Lakers can do is hope Davis returns sooner rather than later and that role players step up until then.
LeBron James passes Kobe Bryant for most games played on Christmas Day
While it must be difficult for James to have to endure all this losing in Year 20, he still remains one of the league’s main draws. Even when his teams are underperforming, James remains on a staple on the Christmas Day slate and after suiting up against the Mavericks he became the all-time leader in games played on Christmas, surpassing Kobe Bryant.
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