LOS ANGELES — Again in December, the Lakers didn’t miss a beat.
Because the season tipped off, Los Angeles regarded just like the crew that smoked cigars the ultimate evening within the bubble. The Lakers picked up their outrageous — and costly — rings, blended within the newcomers, rolled them out on the court docket with two of the 5 greatest gamers strolling the face of the earth, and obtained again to the enterprise of tearing up the NBA. The Lakers began the season 21-6, and the one actual risk appeared the potential of a crew in Brooklyn.
Then Anthony Davis went out with calf and Achilles soreness. Then LeBron James was out with a excessive ankle sprain. Regardless of that, Lakers gamers didn’t sound involved, and Lakers followers and most observers weren’t that fearful — so long as LeBron and Davis have been wholesome come the playoffs, the Lakers would flip the swap and be the crew to beat once more.
It’s time to be involved.
After an unpleasant loss to the Raptors Sunday evening, the Lakers gamers vented frustration and seemed like a crew that has misplaced its manner.
Kyle Kuzma referred to as the Lakers “disconnected.”
“Once we’re in related we all know what sort of crew we might be, we noticed it early within the season, however I might agree proper now we’re somewhat disconnected,” Davis stated after the 121-114 loss.
That loss had the couple thousand followers in Staples Heart groaning — the Lakers have been dealt with by a Raptors crew that isn’t even going to make the play-in video games within the East. (Sure, mathematically they’re alive, however in actuality gamers can begin making resort reservations in Cancun). That was the Lakers’ third straight loss, they usually have now dropped six-of-seven.
Extra regarding for the Lakers, LeBron checked out of the sport with 6:42 remaining and didn’t return because of soreness within the ankle that simply value him 20 video games.
“The primary half it feels actually good, warming up for the sport it feels actually good, however at halftime it will get sore on me. It feels tight,” LeBron stated of his proper ankle.
“His ankle developed some soreness, we determined to not deliver him again,” was how Lakers coach Frank Vogel described it. “We’ll see how he’s feeling tomorrow.”
Tomorrow is when the Lakers face the red-hot Denver Nuggets, winners of 9-of-10.
The Lakers might be with out Dennis Schroder for that recreation as nicely, he missed the sport in opposition to Toronto because of league well being and security protocols. How lengthy Schroder will likely be out will depend on whether or not he examined constructive, is in touch tracing, or had a false constructive that saved him out for a recreation [as of this writing, we do not know the situation].
The ankle situation clearly bothered LeBron nicely earlier than he left the sport. He was not shifting like he usually does — he wasn’t attacking the rim or glass, not chasing free balls, and never defending at his regular degree.
It was a lot the identical with Davis, who’s the anchor of the Lakers protection however was not enjoying close to that degree on Sunday (or since his return).
With the playoffs simply three weeks away, LeBron and the Lakers don’t appear like a crew constructing postseason momentum.
“I feel our crew is based on well being, that’s the No. 1 factor for our ballclub,” LeBron stated. “Our crew must be full…. That’s going to be the most important factor for us, greater than the video games we play, we have to be wholesome.”
Every of these annoyed Lakers gamers additionally stated what retains them going is that they know the way good they are often — they bear in mind these first 27 video games. They imagine they will get again to that degree.
“We all know what we’re going to appear like once we’re complete,” Vogel stated.
Can the Lakers get complete within the subsequent three weeks? That’s a authentic concern.