The first five games of the Lakers season have been all but a bright spot. The newly assembled team have showed signs of promise but nothing to get fans excited about just yet. The purple and gold started out the season hosting the Warriors. The first time the Lakers big three would step out on the court together, and it did not go as Rob Pelinka envisioned when signing Westbrook. LeBron James and Anthony Davis both had stellar games each scoring 30 points plus. Westbrook looked like it was the first time he touched a basketball in months. With all the new in place, the first game was a disaster. While the Curry led Warriors proved their team dynamic is clicking and a force to be reckoned with.
Since that first game, the Lakers have showed many signs of improvement. Their first win against the Ja Morant led Grizzlies was not pretty but they found a way to get it done off the bench. Similarly, role players like Malik Monk and Carmelo Anthony provided a huge spark, leading the second unit rotation. After winning their second straight game with an overtime win in San Antonio, the Lakers win streak came to an abrupt end.
For most of the game, it appeared that the Lakers were going to run right past Westbrook’s old team. Leading by double digits through the first and second quarters, Westbrook had a near triple double before halftime. In the second half is where the Lakers found problems. Going completely cold from the field, they struggled to gain a rhythm and looked sluggish coming off Tuesdays win against the Spurs. After blowing the lead, Westbrook getting ejected was the cherry to top off the nightmare of a night.
What it Means
Many are scared for the Lakers. All the chatter of Westbrook not fitting into the system has become a reality early on. However if there is any one who can figure out how to play with a ball dominant player it is LeBron James. The Lakers full potential will only be achieved if they can get back guys like Kendrick Nunn, Talen Horton Tucker and Trevor Ariza. Each will contribute greatly to the success of the team when they return.
But even if those guys are healthy come playoff time, it is impossible to predict James’s health at this stage of his career. Health is always a factor down the road. Maybe a slow start and adversity puts the pieces together for a Lakers team that need to prove they can escape out of the Western Conference.
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