Don’t look now, Laker nation. Things are getting more concerning by the day. The Los Angeles Lakers are creating a mess at the worst possible time.
Let’s take a quick peak at the Western Conference standings, particularly at three seedings that are close and crucial, and have dangerous implications.
|(5) Los Angeles Lakers||36||27|
|(6) Dallas Mavericks||35||28|
|(7) Portland Trail Blazers||35||28|
Instead of sitting comfortably at the fairly favourable no. 5 slot, the defending champs are bound to sweat bullets as they close out the 2020-21 regular season. They are now just one game above the Mavericks and Blazers, who, despite being inconsistent all season, are quite equipped to go on a run. We don’t need to tell you about Luka Doncic’s offensive prowess and Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum’s high-scoring backcourt.
Struggling with James and Davis
Despite having their two superstars back on the floor, the Lakers are yet to show improvement or sense of urgency. They have now lost five of their last six games – 1-4 since Anthony Davis’s return.
You would think there was a boost of energy on Saturday, when LeBron James was also healthy enough to suit up, but there wasn’t. More of the same occurred. The Lake Show was a circus, and the up-and-down play was in full view. They once trailed by 15 points, then led by as much as 11, began the quarter still up by 10, and ended up losing 110-106. No other Laker outside James and Davis scored for the team over the last seven minutes and change.
Anthony Davis had his usual line, with 22 points, 11 rebounds, and five blocks, while James was a bit reserved scoring-wise, tallying just 16 points on 6-for-12 shooting in 32 minutes. Both were basically outplayed by a rookie, as Tyler Haliburton powered the Kings through team-highs 22 points, 10 assists, and four three-pointers.
Such performances from the opposition was also present in three of the four prior games (all dates are in Manila time):
April 23 vs. the Mavericks (110-105, L) – Six of the nine Mavericks who played reached double figures, and the other three who didn’t scored at least seven.
April 25 vs. the Mavericks (108-93) – Outscored in the fourth quarter, 29-14. The Mavs’ utility big man, Dwight Powell, scored 14 of his 25 points in the frame.
April 29 vs. the Wizards (116-107) – Bradley Beal scores 27 points on 11-for-18 shooting, while Russell Westbrook had a triple-double of 18 points, 18 rebounds, and 14 assists. Westbrook outrebounded Anthony Davis and Andre Drummond… combined.
Falling in into the 7th seed or beyond
As you know, courtesy of the NBA’s new format, dropping into the 7-10 spots will force a team into a play-in tournament. It’s not an ideal position as the margin of error will be thin and the projected opponents (Mavericks, Blazers, Warriors, and/or Spurs) are all dangerous. Plus, you don’t want an extra game or two before the actual playoff action.
The Lakers will be back on the floor this Monday, 10:00 AM, Manila time. They will host the visiting Toronto Raptors.