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The Lakers, is there hope?

The Lakers, is there hope?

It seems incredible, but the Lakers are still alive. From the initial 0-5, the record is 8-7, there are things that are better established and something similar to a strange hope. Before the Blazers (128-109) they did not make the same mistake as in that previous duel against Indiana, when they allowed themselves to come back from 17 points in the last quarter and 10 in just 3 minutes to succumb when they had everything tied up. Not this time; they controlled the game from start to finish, they won even in the out-of-control second period (42-40 in the quarter), they defended well, they leaned on their stars and they are already 8-12 in the Western Conference, 2 victories away from tenth place which gives access to play-in and with several teams that are clearly going down, including these Blazers without Damian Lillard who beat the Angelenos (also dramatically) on the third day of both teams, back on October 23, which seems very far away.

Those same Blazers, which are not really the same, They are already at 50% after starting 4-0 and 5-1 (11-11 now) and they miss a Lillard who, at 32, has already lost 11 of the 22 games played, half. In that area of ​​the West there is a lot of traffic: in the Jazz, sixth, logic begins to prevail (13-11) and the Kings fight to return to the playoffs for the first time since 2006 (10-9). Warriors and Mavericks (both at 50%) will theoretically go up, while the Wolves go in jerks (12-11) and the Thunder have the will and young talent, but perhaps not the structure or the sense of being in the moment necessary to keep the fight going through 82 games.. That is, there are options for the Lakers. They will be many or few, but there are some. Even if they are minimal.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis worked perfectly: 31 points, 7 rebounds and 8 assists for the King, in a very good shooting series (12 of 18, with an excellent 6 of 8 in triples, his best night in this aspect of the season) and 27+12, with 3 blocks for a Davis that was a wall in defense and took oil with 7 consecutive points in the last quarter, which allowed the result to go from 118-105 to 125-109 and thus they were driven away the ghosts of Andrew Nembhard’s triple, that unexpected hero of the Pacers who silenced the Crypto Arena and showed that the Lakers still lack some frying to become a reliable squad.

The Lakers won in rebounds (58-51), in assists (28-21), in steals (5-4), in blocks (6-5), they had a better percentage of three-pointers (close to 38%, something great for them ) and field goals (almost 50%) and they did not allow the streaks of Jerami Grant (27 points), Justise Winslow (22) or Afernee Simons (21) to cut a fast pace, but not precipitous. This was helped by the appearance of Austin Reaves, much loved by the Los Angeles crowd (and by LeBron) and who went to 22 points that he combined perfectly with a good defensive performance. His role and his almost 35 minutes of play allowed LeBron (32:30) and Davis (29:05) to spend less time on the track, avoid injuries and produce a lot when they went out to destroy everything. The best news on the bench was that of Thomas Bryant (14+6), who did damage, along with Davis, to an inoperative Jusuf Nurkic (8+10). Russell Westbrook could not be the revulsive this time (10 + 5 + 4, but 4 of 14 in shots) and the final part was played by Dennis Schröder, also dull (6+5). Kendrick Nunn didn’t score either (4 goals) and Wenyen Gabriel provided some energy in a few minutes (6+4 in less than 11).

For now, this is the situation before a key moment for the Lakers: the tour of the East. Bucks, Wizards, Cavaliers, Raptors, Sixers and Pistons. Defeats are coming that seem certain (Giannis, Ohio…) and matches that will have to be played. But they can’t be left behind if they want to have a playoff chance. The initial damage has already been done (that 0-5…), the subsequent recovery too, but there are homework to be done and what is coming is essential to see if this is a mere mirage (6 wins in 8 games) or a product of a placid calendar (three victories before Spurs, one against Detroit…). They arrive with LeBron and Davis healthy, with the entire squad except for Matt Ryan who was cut just after the game against the Blazers (we’ll see what they do with that hole) and the team, despite the loss against the Pacers, in a good moment. The situation is by no means simple.. But there is one thing that has not been until now: a glimmer of hope.

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