On Sunday, the Los Angeles Lakers were handed a loss by the New Orleans Pelicans on the road despite the fact that Anthony Davis, the team’s leading scorer and lone All-Star, was resting.
The good news is that the Lakers will get another crack at New Orleans on Wednesday. The bad news is that Davis is expected to play.
Davis hasn’t seen the floor a ton since the All-Star break, playing a total of 40 minutes through two games, but he’s made the most of his time limited time on the court, averaging 29.4 points, 11.6 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 2.7 steals and 3.6 blocks per 36 minutes.
Granted, it’s a small sample size, but it’s consistent with what he’s shown throughout the season. If Davis does play on Wednesday, there’s a good chance he’ll be held to roughly 20 minutes again, but even that might be just enough for him to give the Pelicans a healthy lead going into halftime.
How do the Lakers make sure that doesn’t happen? To put it simply, by playing defense and taking care of the ball.
Over the last 15 games, the Lakers have posted the fourth-worst defensive rating in the league (116.1). They’re also turning the ball over more than any team (17.5 turnovers per game) during that time.
If you used those two bits of informations to come to the conclusion that the Lakers are probably allowing a ton of points off of turnovers — 22.6 points to be exact — you’re absolutely correct! I’d offer you two free tickets to a Lakers game, but as of late, that’s more of a cruel punishment than it is a reward. So, as a good friend of mine once said, you win nothing.
Three games and three teams separate the Lakers from the eighth seed in the Western Conference and with just 22 games left in the regular season, every game counts. If there’s any chance of the Lakers still sneaking into the playoffs, it has to start tonight.
It doesn’t matter who’s activated or who shows the most urgency, they just need to win. If LeBron James scores two points, but the Lakers win, it’s still a win. If James scores all of the points, it’s still a win.
Just get a win, guys. Win a game.
Tip-off for Thursday night is 7:30 PM PST and will be televised on ESPN. You can follow the game over at @LakersSBN.