The Lakers came away with a thrilling 145-144 double overtime victory against the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night, an intense and thrilling affair with superstars LeBron James and Stephen Curry showing off a gear that few players can ever hope to get to.
However, the extended length of the game required key Lakers players to play a heavy set of minutes, with five different Lakers playing 40+ minutes, including LeBron James (48 minutes), Anthony Davis (45), D’Angelo Russell (49), Austin Reaves (47) and Jarred Vanderbilt (41).
This amount of minutes will have an impact on any player and team, especially when it’s five different players. Add in the intensity of the game and it’s even more of a mental and physical burden. With the Lakers only having one day off after the game and having to travel to Houston and then Atlanta, logic would say there would be a plan in place to maximize freshness.
Not so fast. In the following video, I explained why the ensuing management of the back-to-back made little to no sense after the Warriors game.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time that head coach Darvin Ham and this group have bungled minutes allocation and risk/reward calculation.
In fact, with the team continuing to hover around .500 and increasing pressure on Ham to deliver results, you might see an ever-increasing burden on key players, especially the two superstars, an even more perplexing situation when the whole point of this roster coming into the season was to limit the burden on them during the regular season? Remember the LeBron minutes restriction?
Hopefully, there is some sort of lesson learned from how gassed the team looked and Anthony Davis not being able to play night two. In the meantime, Lakers fans have to hope this team can gut it out and stay healthy because they don’t stand a chance if any one of their key players misses significant time.
Dr. Rajpal Brar, DPT has a doctorate in physical therapy from Northern Arizona University, and runs his own in-person and online sports medicine and performance business, 3CB Performance, in West LA and Valencia, CA and partners with Quantum Performance in which he further combines his movement expertise and fitness training background to rehab & train elite athletes. He also works at a hospital — giving him experience with patients in the immediate healthcare setting and neurological patients (post stroke, post brain injury) — and has been practicing for over 5 years.
Brar is additionally training at UCLA’s mindful awareness research center (MARC), has a background in youth basketball coaching and analyzes the Lakers from a medical and skills perspective for Silver Screen and Roll and on his own YouTube Channel. You can follow him on Twitter at @3cbPerformance.