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After a three-game winning streak when the future finally looked bright, the Los Angeles Lakers were decimated by players entering the league’s health and safety protocol and Anthony Davis’ MCL injury.
Losing key rotation players has taken a toll on the remaining roster, resulting in a four-game losing streak that pushed the Lakers (16-17) back under .500 after a 28-point loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
With Davis sidelined, the immediate future doesn’t seem to be in L.A.’s favor because of the lack of skilled size on the roster.
Los Angeles’ turnaround this week has it falling eight spots — from 11th to 19th — in a power ranking done by CBS, which went live before the loss to San Antonio:
The Lakers went 0-3 this week, but things are even worse than that. Anthony Davis is out for at least a month with a knee injury and Isaiah Thomas, who was out of the league as of a week ago, played over 26 minutes per game for them in the three losses. It seems like recently the Lakers haven’t been able to win without Herculean performances from LeBron James, and that’s a tall order for a soon-to-be 37-year-old nursing a few lingering injuries. Talen Horton-Tucker returned from protocol on Tuesday, and he’s going to be crucial in trying to keep this team afloat with Davis out.
Even though the loss to the Spurs isn’t accounted for, the analysis still applies. LeBron James dropped 36 in the loss, his ninth 30-point game in the last 13 games.
If the Lakers can get Talen Horton-Tucker performing as he did the first three games back from surgery, he could boost the offense to a new level. But even if that happens, replacing Davis’ impact is something the Lakers can’t do easily.
The Lakers have plenty of work to do to figure out how to win in Davis’ absence, and Russell Westbrook could be key to that.