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Lakers face another tall defensive task without Anthony Davis



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For the second time in three video games, LeBron James used a part of his time on the postgame podium to level out the plain — the Lakers are small. In a league that values size, his crew is sort of devoid — a simple downside to undertaking as soon as the roster was set heading into coaching camp.

It was a problem with Anthony Davis cleansing up messes like a Magic Eraser within the paint. With out the 6-foot-10 ahead, it’s been a deadly flaw for a crew that’s now reeling.

“Actuality is, with out AD, we lose quite a lot of size which we don’t have already,” James stated Sunday in Dallas after a 124-115 loss, the crew’s fourth in a row. “So we now have to make up in ways in which, with out AD, may be very troublesome, very difficult.”

Since Davis’ harm, the Lakers have been the worst defensive crew within the NBA, giving up 125.8 factors per 100 possessions within the 5 video games he’s missed.

The duty received’t get any simpler going through 7-2 Bol Bol and Orlando, which has received two in a row, on Tuesday. The Lakers can be attempting to keep away from their third five-game dropping streak of the season in opposition to a crew that has one other half dozen huge males 6-10 to 7-feet tall.

“Clearly there’s nothing you are able to do to fill the void of Anthony Davis — particularly, the yr he’s had this yr, not solely offense, however clearly rim safety, rebounding,” guard Patrick Beverley stated. “It’s a must to do it collectively. And as a begin, defensively.

“The final 4 or 5 video games, we’ve given up 120 factors, plus. Ah, it’s robust to win on this league should you’re giving up that many factors. We’re scoring a ton of factors, although. It’s a optimistic, however we’re giving up a ton too.”

Requested the place the Lakers are “at” in terms of competing defensively, guard Russell Westbrook handed.

“Umm … I don’t know,” he stated. “I don’t have that reply for you.”

The solutions to the Lakers’ issues are getting more durable to search out — the notion that there are inner fixes accessible seeming much less and fewer plausible with each recreation of their latest dropping streak.

But because the Lakers proceed to lose, the concept this season is value attempting to salvage appears crazier.

With no Davis, coach Darvin Ham has been keen to strive seemingly every little thing, even taking part in a lineup with 5 guards the place 6-5 Austin Reaves and the 6-3 Westbrook have been the tallest Lakers on the court docket.

“You’ve obtained to be keen to strive these issues,” Ham stated. “Once more, that’s an enormous gap. However we are able to’t really feel sorry for ourselves. We’ve set to work even more durable. If you face adversity, I used to be all the time taught you lean again in your ideas. As coaches, we now have to show more durable, coach more durable, illustrate issues in movie. Proceed to try this. And as gamers, guys simply should dig in deep and attempt to band collectively and be extra cohesive.”

Ham stated the Lakers would possibly go to their smaller lineups earlier in video games than they did Sunday in opposition to Dallas, together with appears to be like with James at middle.

“Simply attempting to get extra possessions within the recreation,” Ham stated. “If you go small like that, any a type of guys can get a defensive rebound and push it. If you’re attempting to play quick, you’re attempting to assault downhill and attempting to place the opposite crew on their heels. Put them in place the place they’re fouling. You should utilize the free-throw line to attempt to get again into the sport or maintain a lead.”

Till the Lakers both get wholesome or make some sort of roster transfer, they’re going to have video games the place their protection struggles. And in the event that they’re in a position to get stops, then they’ll should rebound regardless of giving up dimension all around the court docket.

“You don’t should be a rocket scientist to determine it out,” James stated.