The Los Angeles Lakers have lost their last five games despite LeBron James playing MVP-caliber basketball in recent weeks.
L.A. has been outscored by 10 points on average in non-James minutes during the team’s current five-game losing streak. Poor performance in these stretches cancels out the four-time NBA champion’s strenuous effort when he’s back on the court, averaging 31.6 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 5.2 assists.
James recently said he would “continue carrying the load” for the Lakers for as long as necessary. But while Malik Monk admires the 36-year-old All-Star’s leadership, he knows L.A. needs to provide him with more support if it wants to win games.
“He a robot, man,” Monk said. “He can do whatever he want to, man. We just as mad as everybody else. Probably even more because like I said before, we all know what we got to do and sometimes we do it and sometimes don’t. We’re not going to win like that and everybody knows that.
“So if we want to win, we really got to come together and do the right things.”
Monk himself has been doing what he can to give support despite recently missing a handful of games due to health and safety protocols. He returned on Christmas Day and contributed 20 points, four rebounds and three assists in 35 minutes off the bench, showing no signs of rust after all that time off.
Other guys will need to do the same if the Lakers want to turn it around though.
David Fizdale unsure how to fix Lakers’ non-James minutes
Acting head coach David Fizdale acknowledged the Lakers’ suffering when James takes a breather. And, the coach admitted he is yet to solve the issue.
“Clone him,” Fizdale joked. “We can clone him. Do you know any good scientists? Maybe make a duplicate. I don’t know. We just got to figure that out. When we do have those gaps when he’s out of the game, how do we keep that momentum going offensively and defensively?
“We’ll keep looking at those stretches of the game, keep looking at ways to help our team.”
Fizdale pointed out the players who are on the court when James rests often are the ones who recently joined the team.
He thinks the new Lakers’ unfamiliarity with their teammates’ game plays a role in the team’s poor performance during non-James stretches.
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