For the second time in three video games, LeBron James used a part of his time on the postgame podium to level out the apparent — the Lakers are small. In a league that values size, his group is almost devoid — a simple drawback to challenge as soon as the roster was set heading into coaching camp.
It wasn’t a difficulty with Anthony Davis cleansing up messes like a Magic Eraser within the paint. With out the 6-foot-10 ahead, it’s been a deadly flaw for a group that’s now reeling.
“Reality is, without AD, we lose a lot of length which we don’t have already,” James mentioned Sunday in Dallas after a 124-115 loss, the group’s fourth in a row. “So we have to make up in ways that, without AD, is very difficult, very challenging.”
Since Davis’ harm, the Lakers have been the worst defensive group within the NBA, giving up 125.8 factors per 100 possessions within the 5 video games he’s missed.
The duty gained’t get any simpler going through 7-2 Bol Bol and Orlando, which has gained two in a row, on Tuesday. The Lakers will likely be attempting to keep away from their third five-game shedding streak of the season in opposition to a group that has one other half dozen huge males 6-10 to 7-feet tall.
“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 mentioned. “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.”
Requested the place the Lakers are “at” relating to competing defensively, guard Russell Westbrook handed.
“Umm … I don’t know,” he mentioned. “I don’t have that answer for you.”
The solutions to the Lakers’ issues are getting tougher to search out — the notion that there are inner fixes obtainable seeming much less and fewer plausible with each sport of their latest shedding streak.
But because the Lakers proceed to lose, the concept this season is value attempting to salvage appears crazier.
With no Davis, coach Darvin Ham has been keen to attempt seemingly all the things, even enjoying a lineup with 5 guards the place 6-5 Austin Reaves and the 6-3 Westbrook have been the tallest Lakers on the court docket.
“You’ve got to be willing to try those things,” Ham mentioned. “Again, that’s a huge hole. But we can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We’ve got to work even harder. When you face adversity, I was always taught you lean back on your principles. As coaches, we have to teach harder, coach harder, illustrate things in film. Continue to do that. And as players, guys just have to dig in deep and try to band together and be more cohesive.”
Ham mentioned the Lakers would possibly go to their smaller lineups earlier in video games than they did Sunday in opposition to Dallas, together with seems with James at heart.
“Just trying to get more possessions in the game,” Ham mentioned. “When you go small like that, any one of those guys can get a defensive rebound and push it. When you’re trying to play fast, you’re trying to attack downhill and trying to put the other team on their heels. Put them in position where they’re fouling. You can use the free-throw line to try and get back into the game or sustain a lead.”
Till the Lakers both get wholesome or make some sort of roster transfer, they’re going to have video games the place their protection struggles. And in the event that they’re capable of get stops, then they’ll must rebound regardless of giving up dimension all around the court docket.
“You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure it out,” James mentioned.