To the surprise of no one, the Los Angeles Lakers have largely failed to be their best selves with LeBron James out of the lineup this season. Despite the myriad of big names on the squad — and Talen Horton-Tucker’s return notwithstanding — James’ running mates just haven’t been able to pick up the slack in his absence.
For the year, the Lakers are 7.9 points per 100 possessions worse when he is off the floor. And with the King missing Los Angeles’ last seven games with an abdominal strain, that has been the situation more often than not this season.
However, multiple reports are now indicating that James’ big return to the hardwood may be coming sooner rather than later (not a moment too soon for his team).
Woj: LeBron Possibly Back for Friday Bout With Boston
As reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Tuesday, there is “growing optimism” that the 17-time NBA All-Star could be back on the court for his team’s Friday night bout with the Boston Celtics. That would be a timely development for the Lakers, who tip-off a five-game Eastern swing on Wednesday against the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Lake Show has also lost two of its last three games, the latest of which came in blowout fashion at Staples Center against the Chicago Bulls.
For his part, Fox Sports’ Nick Wright painted an even rosier picture where James’ return is concerned. While addressing the Lakers’ latest loss, he indicated that James would be back “maybe Wednesday; he will absolutely be back by Friday.” He also added “the Lakers’ time without LeBron is coming to an end this week.”
James is averaging 24.8 points, 7.0 assists and 5.5 rebounds through six games played this season. His last action came against the Houston Rockets on November 2.
The Lakers’ schedule through the end of the month is as follows:
Wed, Nov. 17: @Milwaukee
Fri, Nov 19: @Boston
Sun, Nov 21: @Detroit
Tue, Nov 23: @New York
Wed, Nov 24: @Indiana
Fri, Nov 26: Sacramento
Sun, Nov 28: Detroit
Tue, Nov 30: @Sacramento
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Lakers ‘Already Regretting’ Westbrook Addition
In his latest piece for Bleacher Report, Zach Buckley identified a handful of teams that are likely having second thoughts about their offseason pickups. The Lakers were among the clubs taken to task as a result of their trade to bring Russell Westbrook back to Southern California.
Technically, there’s time for Russell Westbrook to find his footing with the Lakers, but unless you’re a glass-overflowing optimist or directly related to the Brodie, why would you keep hope alive any longer?
All of the worries initially attached to his Hollywood homecoming have come to fruition. When he hits the hardwood, the offense can’t breathe and the defense can’t stop the bleeding.