Manage episode 346945313 series 1657213
It's hard to have a must-win game after 12 games of an 82-game season, but Sunday the Lakers faced something pretty close to it. And with LeBron James still sidelined, they needed, and got, a monster performance from Anthony Davis. 37 points on 25 shots, plus 18 rebounds, 10 of them coming on the offensive side of things. He was unstoppable in the paint, delivering the type of game teams need from superstars in adverse circumstances. So what was different about Sunday's game, where A.D. was a factor throughout, and Friday where he was quiet down the stretch (again)? What were the Lakers doing better on Sunday, and where did Brooklyn leave the door open?
Meanwhile, the Lakers got good performances out of Lonnie Walker IV, Austin Reaves and sneaky good production from Wenyen Gabriel, and turned in one of their better defensive performances since the early part of the season (Brooklyn's cold shooting notwithstanding).
Where do the Lakers go from here?
For starters, they have a rare in-season stretch of four days without a game, allowing both James to rest and for the team to improve through consecutive practices. Darvin Ham pointed to the importance of this week to clean up areas where the team has slipped, and build from there. And they should get important players like Dennis Schroder and Thomas Bryant back by the end of the week, bolstering a rotation that badly needs some optionality.
The team has a chance to make up a few games, with a soft stretch of schedule upcoming, but overall it's a hard challenge. In a crowded Western Conference, especially, these Lakers have shown no signs of quickly climbing out of the hole they've dug with a 10 game win streak. Instead, it's going to be a long, slow march (assuming it happens at all) with the goal of looking up in six weeks or so and saying, "We're still in it."
The mindset for three steps forward, two steps back is tough. Can they pull it off, mentally, assuming the talent is there, too (which, to say the least, isn't a safe assumption)?
HOSTS: Andy and Brian Kamenetzky
SEGMENT 1: The Lakers win behind a dominant Anthony Davis.
SEGMENT 2: What the Lakers did (and the Nets didn't) to help Davis go off against Brooklyn.
SEGMENT 3: The challenge in front of the Lakers is (in part) psychological, and it is difficult.
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