The Los Angeles Lakers are in danger of another season being lost as they have really struggled since Anthony Davis went down with a foot injury.
The Lakers have lost four straight games going into Tuesday’s matchup against the Orlando Magic and their defense has been the biggest reason for that.
Davis had been playing at a Defensive Player of the Year level before the since, but since he got hurt the Lakers have given up 130, 134, 134 and 124 points in their four-game losing streak.
It’s impossible to win at this level when you defend at that level, and Patrick Beverley put the onus on everybody to make up for Davis’ absence, via Dan Woike of the L.A. Times:
“Obviously there’s nothing you can do to fill the void of Anthony Davis — especially, the year he’s had this year, not only offense, but obviously rim protection, rebounding,” guard Patrick Beverley said. “You have to do it collectively. And as a start, defensively.
“The last four or five games, we’ve given up 120 points, plus. Ah, it’s tough to win in this league if you’re giving up that many points. We’re scoring a ton of points, though. It’s a positive, but we’re giving up a ton too.”
Beverley is right that the Lakers need to pick it up defensively, but that just might not be feasible with their current personnel. The starting backcourt of Beverley and Schroder, in particular, has really struggled defensively despite that being their strength on paper.
Schroder and Beverley have a combined net rating of -11.9 this season with a defensive rating of 121.9 in 236 minutes together.
While a change to the starting lineup would be ideal, Darvin Ham has expressed that he wants to stick with this group until they gain some chemistry together.
James: ‘You don’t have to be a rocket scientist’ to see why Lakers are struggling without Davis
After the Lakers’ Christmas Day loss to the Dallas Mavericks, LeBron James also discussed the absence of Davis and isn’t surprised to see the Lakers struggling without him.
“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].”
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