Despite being close to full strength for the first time in over a month, the Los Angeles Lakers are still struggling to gain any form of momentum as we head toward the All-Star break.
When speaking on K[no]w Mercy with Stephen A. Smith, Jeanie Buss shared her sympathy with LeBron James, noting that he’s currently carrying a significant burden for the Lakers as they navigate a slow start to the season and multiple injuries to key pieces of their rotation.
“I mean, unless he’s winning, he’s not going to be happy. That’s him. That’s what drives him. And I could see why he would be frustrated. We’re all frustrated with, you know, we’re down four starters, and he’s our only remaining starter, and he’s gotta show up and play. And, the burden’s on him,” Buss said.
LeBron, 38, has continued to impress from an individual standpoint this season and certainly deserves to make a post-season appearance; however, given the Lakers’ current form, he may be forced to miss out on the playoffs for the second straight season.
Anthony Davis Blames Refs For Loss To Celtics
On January 28, the Lakers fell to the Boston Celtics in overtime, courtesy of a missed call by the referee when a foul occurred on LeBron in the dying seconds. Speaking to the media following the game, Anthony Davis shared his frustration at failing to add to the Lakers’ win tally despite fighting their way to the finish line against their bitter rivals.
“It was bull***. At the end of the day, it’s unacceptable. And I guarantee nothing’s going to happen to the refs. We got cheated tonight, honestly. It’s a blatant foul. Pat got all ball on Jaylen Brown, called a foul. LeBron gets smacked across his arm. It’s unacceptable, to be honest; they were bad tonight…To miss a call when the ref is sitting right there on the baseline, it’s tough…It wasn’t even a touch foul; I mean, the ball didn’t even move; he clearly smacked his arm,” Davis said.
Currently, the Lakers sit 13th in the Western Conference, 2.5 games outside of the play-in picture, whereas the Utah Jazz hold the final spot with a .500 record over their first 52 games.
The Lakers Still Have Time
While a slow start to the season was not something the Lakers would have wanted to navigate, the fact of the matter is they find themselves exactly where they should be. Their lack of depth on the bench, limited shooting ability, and over-reliance on a 38-year-old superstar has left them susceptible to periods of stagnation.
Moreover, it’s highly unlikely that we see any significant movement around the trade deadline, meaning the addition of Rui Hachimura is probably as good as it’s going to get for Lakers fans.
Still, with another half of the season still to play, the Lakers still have every opportunity to at least make the play-in tournament and then navigate their way into the playoffs. It’s going to take some luck and for the likes of Davis to remain healthy moving forward, but mathematically speaking, there’s is still plenty left to play for.