“Lakers–Win or Go Home”
The dreaded ‘Play-In’ Game for the defending NBA champions, the Lakers, how dreadful is this?
In a season marred by injuries to its super star roster, and a season impacted by Covid concerns, the Lakers are healthy, but how long they stay that way remains to be seen.
A few storylines to pay attention to heading into the Wednesday ‘1-and-Done’ game with Golden State.
LEBRON JAMES..helped fuel the 5-game win streak at the end of the season after the team stumbled badly with the injuries to King James and AD. The big issue-can the pounding on this twice injured ankle allow him to be himself in the playoffs. You know, run the floor, drive to the hoop, take his shots and play lots of minutes? His (25PPG) average doesn’t seem to be very dominant right now. His health isn’t either.
ANTHONY DAVIS..He was a man possessed the final two weeks of the season, wiping out the bad spring swoon of injuries. But he is always ailing. Now it’s a groin. He’s had 5-different injuries in two seasons with this team, akin to all his ailments in New Orleans.
DENNIS SCHROEDER…What an acquisition, what firepower, what energy. The question, can he be himself and play lots of minutes coming off this Covid scare weeks ago?
ANDRE DRUMMOND…A key cog, especially if the injury bug hits AD again. Drummond has to stay out of foul trouble, but his (11P-10R) per game average will be a key if he has to play lots of minutes.
TALEN HORTON-TUCKER..A surprise season, an explosive player, but you’d be placing an awful lot of trust in him if he had to play key minutes in the postseason. He can play in this league, now can he hold up to the pressure of being in the postseason?
MONTRZL HARRELL..Not quite as productive off the bench for the Lakers as he was with the Clippers, but he is a gamer and they need him.
MARC GASOL…How much he plays and how well he plays and what matchups they can get for him will determine how much he gives them starting Wednesday night.
KYLE KUZMA…Sure does not seem to be the player he had been in past years on the Lakers. Production is down. Reliability is down. Consistency is down. Where did his game go?
They should beat Golden State to get the 7th slot heading into the second round, but the real basketball stars after they beat the Warriors.
Can they hold up against the 52-win Utah Jazz, the surprise firepower team in the league? If they had to play the Suns-would they be able to run with a 51-win Phoenix team.
Could you imagine if they lost to Steph Curry and the Warriors, and had to play a second play-in game? Could you imagine if they never got out of the second round series against the Jazz or Suns?
It could happen. Will see what Wednesday night looks like.