Things could be a lot better in Los Angeles.
After suffering an 18-point home loss to the Bulls, the Lakers have fallen to 8-7 on the season and remain incredibly difficult to measure. Just as they have found impressive ways to win this season, they have found even more confusing ways to lose.
MORE: How long will LeBron be out?
In fairness, it’s hard to really evaluate a team that has been without its best player for two-thirds of its first 15 games, but LeBron James’ injury has cleared the layer of problems that his return won’t necessarily be able to fix. .
Start up with Anthony Davis.
Finally healthy after battling an injury last postseason, Davis is again hitting Davis-like numbers with averages of 24.2 points and 10.9 rebounds per game, but something seems to be missing. In Monday’s loss to a Bulls team that opened Alex Caruso as power forward, Davis tried just four shots in the first half to enter the break with seven points.
MORE: Why didn’t the Lakers stick with Caruso?
His frustrations came to a head when he was sent off in the third quarter, regaining his second technique of the game in a bizarre situation where he struggled to put his shoe back on.
This strange sequence of events only begins to highlight the problems facing this Lakers team.
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Third trimester problems
Note that at the time of Davis’ expulsion, the Lakers were down 86-66, which is noteworthy given that the team entered the half with nine disadvantages.
Thus, a trend of poor performance continues in the Lakers’ third quarter, highlighted by Davis following a landslide loss to the Timberwolves.
MORE: Davis says loss to Wolves is “embarrassing”
By Alex Kennedy of Basketball News, the Lakers have now been outscored in the third quarter of nine of their first 15 games and six times by double digits.
Regarding the third-quarter display that drew Davis ire, the Lakers were outscored 40-12 by the Timberwolves, who look like a Play-In team at best. Those kinds of performances won’t be enough for a team that has true championship aspirations.
Is it the halftime speech? Probably not. But it’s also a general problem that will take longer than James’ return to fix.
The road gets harder
If it seems like the Lakers are at Staples Center every time you tune in to watch them play, it’s because they practically have been.
To open the season, the Lakers have played 12 of their first 15 home games, something they haven’t really gotten much of, posting a 7-5 home record to start. As things naturally balance out, the Lakers are now heading East for a five-game road trip, starting with the defending champs.
|Date||Adversary||Time (ET)||National Television|
|Wed, November 17||in Bucks||7:30 pm||ESPN|
|Friday, nov. 19||in the celtics||7:30 pm||ESPN|
|Sunday, November 21||in Pistons||6:00 pm||–|
|November 23||in the Knicks||7:30 pm||TNT|
|Wednesday, November 24||in Pacers||7:00 pm||–|
Up to this point, it’s difficult to evaluate the Lakers as a road team, as they have only played three road games thus far. His record? 1-2, with losses to the Thunder in rebuilding and a Trail Blazers team that only got seven points (shooting 3-of-15) from CJ McCollum.
Perhaps a long road trip is what the Lakers need to unify and fix some general problems, but as they face three teams that made the playoffs last year, it won’t be easy.
Will LeBron make things better? Absolutely. But it’s a bit too much to expect him to come back from injury and fix everything right away.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.