Ahead of last night’s 115-105 loss to the Phoenix Suns at the Footprint Center, head coach Darvin Ham spoke to reporters about how your Los Angeles Lakers head coach managed to win several games without LeBron James.
After yesterday’s loss, the Lakers still held a winning record of 3-2 in their five games without James.
“I’m just trying to keep it balanced,” Ham said of the team’s line-up. “I’m just trying to be balanced and Dennis [Schröder] and thomas [Bryant] Both came out and played really, really well, really competitive. It will be a pause as we continue to make people fully healthy and whole again. So it’s good to have problems. I’m sure we’ll find out. I only give the guys minutes to mix up different combos, certain guys play in a good rhythm with each other. So we just watch game after game after game all the time and tend to solidify at some point.
James has missed the Lakers’ last five games due to left adductor strain he suffered late in LA’s eventual loss to the Los Angeles Clippers just under two weeks ago. He will get his next opportunity to return to action for Los Angeles in a game the team could likely win without him against the San Antonio Spurs on Friday in San Antonio.
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Los Angeles bowled the Spurs 123-92 at home on Sunday.
The real secret ingredient for LA with James sidelined was Anthony Davis going absolutely nuts. In four of those five games, AD has scored 30 or more points and grabbed 16 or more rebounds. Most recently against Phoenix, the All-Star Big Man had 37 points, 21 rebounds, five blocks, five steals and two dimes.
Russell Westbrook, Lonnie Walker IV and Austin Reaves have been the Lakers’ other stalwart contributors during the team’s previous five games without LeBron James.
Schroeder has been extremely inconsistent in his three healthy games for Los Angeles. Last night against Phoenix he went 0-of-6 off the floor in 20:02. He averages five points and 1.7 assists a night on 27.8% shooting from the floor. Bryant was better. In just 15.7 minutes a night, he’s averaging 10.3 points on 81.3% shooting, along with 5.7 rebounds and 0.7 blocks. Role-players like Wenyen Gabriel, Troy Brown Jr. and Kendrick Nunn have helped LA erratically with James. Patrick Beverley has provided plenty of chippiness and defense but has found himself in a miserable slump in shooting all season.