Circumstances surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers recently losing big games provides a moment for fans to pause. The regular season ends May 16. Their record has them stuck in sixth place as of Friday, May 7.
Something's got to give. The Los Angeles Clippers have already clinched their spot for the playoffs. The Phoenix Suns and the Utah Jazz are also all set for the postseason.
They only have six games left to figure out what to do. The fans all believed that this team could create a dynasty with how some teams in the Western Conference have been. It only seems like they might be disappointed in the process.
But what exactly are the Lakers missing? What is holding them back?
I do believe that the time off the court for James due to his ankle injury was the second worst thing to happen to them. Having a veteran leader like James out really sets them back, especially if people continue to put him in the same conversation as Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan as the greatest player of all time.
Anthony Davis’ absence has also hurt them in more ways than one. Davis is the big man that the Lakers need to play against other players like Giannis Antetokounmp, Nikola Jokic, and Kevin Durant. Respectfully, I only make this comparison in terms of size matchups, but all of these players tend to be critical scorers for their teams.
Dennis Schroder is now out due to health and safety protocols. This puts the Lakers in a weird position because now their third best offensive player is out. The defending NBA Final winners now have to hold the line and brace themselves against the other offensively-talented teams.
With offensive leaders like Schroder being out, James also out, and Davis semi-healthy, the only thing the team can do is hold the line in their defense and try to survive offensively.
Their goal? Avoid the play-in game. There are six games left. Each win gets them in a slightly better position. However, every loss kills their confidence.
Portland is up first. Damian Lillard is that dangerous offensive weapon that other teams don’t want to handle. As seen in the past, Lillard can make clutch shots anywhere.
Winning against Phoenix is going to be difficult. The dichotomy of Chris Paul and Devin Booker is what has helped the Suns succeed in the long run.
Facing the New York Knicks will be the ultimate test for the Lakers. A team that has finally seen recent success will be difficult to topple. Their pieces are finally starting to work well together and mold well together. The Knicks are looking for their first championship since 1973. What is even crazier is that the Knicks share the same record as the Lakers.
Houston should be a free win. The Rockets have been eliminated from playoff contention. Enough should be said there. Indiana and New Orleans also should be free wins. Both teams are middle of the line contenders.
So how will the Lakers climb to the top? If James can carry this team on his back with Davis, then the Lakers can finally get back to the same magic that they had before.
The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of The Torch.