The Lakers, playing at full strength previously in the season, blew a 19- point lead in their very first matchup against the Golden State Warriors. LeBron is making a major MVP push
The Lakers are now 9-7 in the 16 games that Anthony Davis has actually missed, but they are 9-2 when Davis sits but LeBron James and Dennis Schroder play. In spite of missing their second-best player for nearly half of the season, the Lakers now have sole belongings of the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference and route the Phoenix Suns by only a single loss in the standings.
James is the preferred in Vegas today. The final standings will play a role in the ballot. If, for example, the Lakers handle to reclaim home-court advantage in the Western Conference? It would be hard to picture James not winning. If Denver can sneak into the top 4 and close the space with the Lakers? Jokic would become the favorite. If the Bucks regain the regular-season supremacy that has actually moved Giannis through the previous two races, he may be able to get rid of both. But voters are essentially imperfect. They are human, and stories constantly wind up mattering. Now, the story that LeBron is bring a weakened Lakers team has him leading the pack. Is it justified? That depends upon your definition of value. Whether or not LeBron really is the most important player in basketball is a separate debate. Now, he’s doing what he needs to do in order to sway citizens.
2. Montrezl Harrell is finding his groove
Montrezl Harrell sent out a concerning tweet throughout the All-Star break, writing “Believe it’s time I call it gives up to whatever and everybody!” He likewise tweeted about missing his grandma, who passed away last year, and Lakers owner Jeanie Buss reacted by guaranteeing to hug him as quickly as she saw him (which she apparently did). While his issues appeared to be personal in nature, his basketball life hasn’t been particularly easy just recently either.
After averaging around 25 minutes per game for the majority of the season, Harrell saw his work decline to around 20 minutes per night throughout a recent 10- video game stretch in spite of Davis’ absence. He had back-to-back six-point outings and even heard his name in trade rumors. Harrell left cash on the table to sign with the Lakers. Seeing his role marginalized and his worth questioned can’t have been easy.
However he’s been incredible given that returning from the break. He offered the Lakers 17 points on 8-of-11 shooting on Friday against Indiana, and against the Warriors, he dropped 27 on 11- of-14 from the field. Frank Vogel matched his defense on Monday too, and informed press reporters that Harrell has actually “been vital. He’s been a big part of our success this season, particularly with A.D. and Marc being out, we have actually needed to depend on him.”
The Lakers will be aggressive in looking for upgrades at the due date. That might mean moving Harrell. Right now, he’s making an engaging argument versus doing so.
3. Team effort makes the dream work
The Lakers shot 62.8 percent from the field versus the Warriors. That was not just their finest shooting efficiency of the season, but their most effective night of offense since January of2010 Not coincidentally, they dispensed a season-high 36 helps. The message here is clear: ball-movement leads to great offense.
It’s a lesson that the Lakers need to internalize. Their general passing numbers are strong, but too often, their offense degenerates into four gamers seeing James and hoping that he can make a play. Moving off of the ball and making the additional pass makes it that a lot easier for him to do so.