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Why are the Lakers playing so poorly? LeBron takes the blame as L.A. fails to hit their stride

LeBron James reflects on Lakers’ poor performance after Houston Rockets’ loss. We take you through a list of why L.A. isn’t hitting their stride this year.

LeBron James reflects on Lakers’ poor performance after Houston Rockets’ loss. We take you through a list of why L.A. isn’t hitting their stride this year.
Harry HowAFP

No NBA fan would have expected to see the Los Angeles Lakers playing the way they have been at the start of the 2021 NBA season. With the roster the Lakers assembled, having LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook meant that this team could win the NBA championship.

However currently, and following a nightmarish overtime loss to the Houston Rockets, the Lakers are strangely close to missing the NBA playoffs this season.

LeBron James takes the blame, claiming that he hasn’t been making the shots he knows he’s capable of making, and said the Lakers “just don’t have a lot of room for error” this season.

We take you through a list of reasons why L.A. is struggling to make it this season.

Why are the Lakers playing so poorly?

When it comes to individuals who have received the most blame for the Lakers’ struggles, it’s head coach Frank Vogel and point guard Russell Westbrook. Vogel has his job on the line after just two seasons from guiding the team to a championship. And Westbrook, who was the Lakers’ biggest offseason acquisition, has for some time now, had his name far exceed his performance. With Anthony Davis and LeBron James suffering injuries throughout what felt like the whole season, Westbrook has struggled to up his game.

James and Davis were battling injuries

With two of the Lakers’ best athletes battling injuries, and with Westbrook playing at a mediocre level, LA was in desperate need of another shot creator. The team had a chance to acquire Kyle Lowry at last season’s trade deadline, but made the mistake of not.

A big name and big player like Lowry would have potentially prevented some of the Lakers’ mistakes on the court, and strengthened their defense, which has been lacking. Not to mention, Lowry is a capable three-point shooter who could have fit around their two best players.

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The Lakers losing are their defense identity?

When the Lakers were winning championships, their defense was one of the best in the NBA. This season, it is clear that LA’s defense is what is lacking the most, as they rank No. 20 in the league. But just why?

The Westbrook trade is one obvious reason already mentioned above; Westbrook’s defense has been poor, ranking in the 32nd percentile of defensive efficiency as per sources. But he isn’t the only one to blame.

Anthony Davis has not been able to maintain his health and status as one of the most dominant players in the NBA.

Anthony Davis has not been reliable

Davis, the eight-time NBA All-Star who has been named to four All-NBA First Teams and four NBA All-Defensive Teams, has dealt with several injuries lately, including an MCL injury that kept him out for a long time, and was not able to make an impact when he was healthy entering games. That, surely affected the Lakers’ chances to compete in the Western Conference.

While the 28-year-old did have some good games, he struggled to stay dominant defensively, adding to the defense problem the Lakers are already facing. Some NBA fans, including analyst Chris Broussard, think Davis is holding LeBron James down.

King James has been carrying Los Angeles on his shoulders, even when AD and Westbrook were on the court.

LeBron takes the blame after Lakers’ loss to Houston: “I’ll be better on Friday”

Following the Lakers’ loss to one of the weakest teams in the NBA, the Rockets, LeBron James spoke of his team’s small margin of mistake this season.

James also spoke about his own performance against the Rockets, when he only made 9 of his 26 attempted shots. He noted how he wasn’t as efficient as he knows he can be, especially missing several shots he knows he’s capable of making. For King James, that’s not something he likes.

“That’s one thing about my game I take pride in. I’ll be better on Friday,” he said.

The Lakers face the Washington Wizards on Friday. Check tonight’s schedule for what NBA games are on.


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