The Los Angeles Lakers limped into the All-Star break due to several injuries and health and safety protocols. L.A. went 3-7 in their final 10 games, with players like Markieff Morris being forced to step into massive roles despite being towards the bottom of the rotation for most of the season.
Outside of back-to-back wins against the Portland Trail Blazers and Golden State Warriors, the Lakers looked out of sorts without Anthony Davis in the lineup. Beyond just his absence, players were clearly fatigued and simply trying to get to the All-Star break.
Morris confirmed this after their loss to the Sacramento Kings, saying the break will do wonders for the team mentally and physically. “I think both, man,” Morris said. “I think mentally it is definitely going to be a great break for all of us. I don’t think any of us has played basketball this much. You never really get a break, even on days off you have to test twice a day or we’re flying or doing something.
“Mentally you never really get a break from basketball. I think we played this whole month without having two days off. Probably twice the whole year we’ve had two days off. That’s new to all of us. I’m mentally drained. I know a lot of guys on my team are mentally drained, but it’s not an excuse. We’ll have six or seven days off to regroup to prepare for the second half of the season. Just get our rest.”
Things don’t get any easier for the Lakers in the second half of their schedule, but perhaps the break will allow them to return completely refreshed.
Luckily, even after going 3-7 to close out the first half, L.A. still enters the All-Star break as the Western Conference’s No. 3 seed behind the Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns. They would be tied for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, giving them the fourth-best record in the NBA.
Schroder lauds next man up mentality
The Lakers were unsuccessful in trying to win games without Davis in the lineup, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t positives to take away, even after the loss to the Kings. Dennis Schroder was very complimentary of the team’s effort. “Got off on a hot start, I believe. Played great defense as well, but then the second quarter we didn’t play right.”
“Turnovers on my end as well, but I think we fought. … We did a great job just competing out there and I think overall we did a great job.”
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