LeBron James has urged his Los Angeles Lakers side to “stay together” following the 108-90 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, saying the game was a “good” one.
The Suns were fully healthy and their roster was mostly the same as last season’s NBA Finals squad. The lakers, on the other hand, missing many key players due to injuries and COVID-19 related issues. James said the team was just going on a “rough patch” and failed to “enough plays”.
“Just stay together, stay together,” James said after the game. “We know we’re in a rough patch right now with guys coming back from injury, with guys in and out of protocol. Guys that’s injured. So, let’s just stay together until we come whole, or as close to whole as possible. Obviously, we got a lot of guys out right now. But, I loved our fight, I thought we had a good fight tonight. We just couldn’t make enough plays.”
Did James ‘make enough plays’ himself?
James, as opposed to the team as a whole, did make enough plays, finishing with 34 points on 13-of-19 shooting and seven rebounds in 34 minutes. What was not enough was help. James was struggling to carry the team alone.
The only offensive player that helped him was Russell Westbrook, putting up 22 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, and three steals. He, however, ended the night guilty of seven turnovers.
The Lakers were hampered by absences with five players being in the COVID-19 health and safety protocols, namely Avery Bradley, Kent Bazemore, Austin Reaves, Kendrick Nunn, Malik Monk. Head coach Frank Vogel was also missing for the very same reason while star player Anthony Davis was out due to an injury. Newly activated from the COVID-19 protocols were Talen Horton-Tucker and Dwight Howard. The first struggled throughout the game while the latter did not play at all.
“They’re at full strength and we are not,” said James, per Ryan Ward of Lakers Nation.
Lakers star Anthony Davis has MCL sprain in left knee and will miss at least four weeks, team says.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 18, 2021
Lakers struggling without AD
Meanwhile, rumors spread that Los Angeles was looking to trade the injured Davis, who earlier announced that he was going to be missing for at least a month with a knee injury. Prior to being injured, he had put up 23.8 points per game and shot 17.9 percent from beyond the arc.
“I can see the Anthony Davis era with the Lakers ending with him being traded,” said Jason Smith of Fox Sports Radio.
“This is not working, LeBron is at the end of his run and AD is at the end of his run. So now, we gotta get 3 guys that we can pay to come in here that are going to go win championships together and we’re redoing the Lakers.”
The Lakers have also been rumored to be looking to trade Westbrook, with reports saying that Los Angeles had spoken to two separate teams about the possible deal.
“Not only have the Lakers had ‘internal discussions’ about trading Russell Westbrook as others have reported, but they have also had preliminary discussions with two teams about a potential trade. Nothing serious yet, however,” said NBA insider Evan Massey.
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