NBA

Are the Lakers Unstoppable Now?

By Provided By Sports Book Reviews December 02, 2019

The Lakers are on fire, as of November 29 they're 16-2 this season and not many teams will be able to slow them down. Some online sports betting sites even favor them to win the NBA Championship over teams like the Clippers, Bucks, Rockets and Raptors.

What makes the Lakers so tough to beat this season? Read on for the three-part answer. 

LeBron James at Point Guard

Last Thursday's game in New Orleans proves why making LeBron James the starting point guard was the right move by the Lakers. James sparked another Lakers comeback, helping come from behind and beat the Pelicans 114-110. The three-time NBA champion made sure the Lakers would end their four-game road trip with a perfect record and he reached another milestone in the process.

With his 29 points, James became the fourth player in league history to score over 33,000 career points, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone and Kobe Bryant. He also had 11 assists and five rebounds.

LeBron James leads the NBA, averaging 11.0 assists per game and many have been to Anthony Davis. The mood at the Smoothie King Center was tense because of Davis' return but James is no stranger to hostile crowds and he even said that AD received some cheers.

"I mean they still love them [in New Orleans] you heard a lot of cheers as well... you heard some boos obviously, some people boo just because they don't even know why they just want to be a part of the spectacle."

Anthony Davis' Effort at Both Ends of the Floor

AD had his first game at the Smoothie King Center since the blockbuster trade that sent him from New Orleans to Los Angeles and he played inspired basketball, leading the Lakers with 41 points and nine rebounds in 37 minutes, becoming the first player in NBA history to score 40 points in his first game against a former team.

Davis is averaging 26.1 points, 9.0 rebounds, 3.6 assists 2.8 blocks and 1.6 steals in 34.9 minutes over 17 games. As I write this, he has a career average of 2.4 blocks in 483 career games but this season he has 48 blocks already,

Anthony Davis (plus-6.7 Box Plus/Minus) leads the Lakers in points, rebounds, blocks, steals and Player Efficiency Rating (PER) and he is clearly a top 5 NBA MVP (plus-2.4 Offensive Box Plus/Minus) and Defensive Player of the Year (plus-4.3 Defensive Box Plus-Minus) candidate.

"We want to make sure that when we come in, we have one goal in mind and that's to come together and win a championship," Anthony Davis told Heavy.com's Brandon 'Scoop B' Robinson in September.

"Do whatever I can to help this team win a championship. That's the main goal. That's our goal and we are going to come in with the mindset that we're all thinking. This is the year." Davis has clear aspirations and if he keeps playing like this the Lakers will go far in the playoffs.

Kyle Kuzma Getting Comfortable as a Sixth Man

Kyle Kuzma missed the entire preseason and the first four games of the season with a stress reaction in his foot but he is finding his way in his new role as a Sixth Man.

The Lakers are playing extremely well but all teams have areas of improvement and Kuzma, who is expected to play a major role in the offense as their third-best player, is still adjusting to coming off the bench, which is understandable.

Kuzma probably did not expect to be a Sixth Man after starting 68 of his 70 games last season and he wants to break through as soon as possible.

"No. I'm not patient at all," Kuzma told Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times after Wednesday's game in New Orleans. "That's why sometimes it's hard."

The 24-year-old had 16 points, five rebounds and two assists in 24 minutes off the bench against the Pelicans and he is a huge piece of the puzzle for the Lakers. His numbers are down but it is a result of him having less playing time.

He averaged 18.7 points over 33.1 minutes last year and this season he is averaging a career-low 12.3 points in 23.0 minutes. Getting used to playing less has to be tough for him but he is playing his part so far, making 46.7 percent of his shots, 36.2 percent of his 3-point attempts and 77.8 percent of his free-throws.

"It's tough sometimes, but you just have to be positive, have an even-keeled mind-set. But that's easier said than done," Kuzma said. "It's something I've got to kind of figure out. But it isn't anything I can't handle."

He knows it's "part of sacrifice and trying to be on a winning team." I see him thriving in this new role, the Lakers need him to keep playing at a high level when he enters the court.

Related items

  • Lakers stepped up to LeBron James void – Anthony Davis Lakers stepped up to LeBron James void – Anthony Davis

    Anthony Davis felt the Los Angeles Lakers "filled the void" left by LeBron James' absence in the 116-86 win over the Golden State Warriors.

    James sat out Thursday's trip to San Francisco due to a sore groin, but All-Star team-mate Davis stepped up with 23 points and six rebounds.

    "LeBron, when he's out, it's taking away a lot of things that we do," said Davis after helping his side to a seventh consecutive win.

    "It's on all of us to make sure we try to fill those voids, and I think we did that.

    "Usually when he's playing and he comes off the floor we kind of take a dip in all aspects of the game. We've got to play how we did tonight when he's playing and he's not on the floor.

    "It's good for guys to get those reps. When he comes back we've just got to make sure we keep the same pace, same intensity even when he's not on the floor."

    Defeated Warriors coach Steve Kerr conceded runs to the NBA Finals in each of the previous five seasons have taken their toll on his team.

    Despite his absence, Kerr cited James as a remarkable example of how to cope with the rigours of going deep into the postseason year after year, although he can see the positives in missing out this time around.

    "Watching LeBron, he looks refreshed, he looks recharged," said Kerr. "The idea of eight straight Finals in insane when you think about five here and what it's done and how our players have felt this past year and the injuries that have hit.

    "I do believe that when all is said and done, by next year's training camp our guys should feel recharged and refreshed and ready to go.

    "Hopefully that's the case. LeBron's also LeBron. He's built differently than most people."

  • Joel Embiid has 'no structural damage' to shoulder Joel Embiid has 'no structural damage' to shoulder

    Brett Brown provided a positive update on Joel Embiid's shoulder injury, confirming the Philadelphia 76ers center has sustained "no structural damage".

    Embiid left the 76ers' 108-94 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday following a collision with Ante Zizic in the first quarter and did not return.

    Philadelphia consequently faced the New York Knicks on Thursday without All-Star duo Embiid and Ben Simmons, who is reportedly set to miss two weeks with a back problem.

    The Sixers ran out 115-106 winners at Wells Fargo Center, Tobias Harris stepping up with 34 points on 14-of-21 shooting, and there was more good news for Brown after the game.

    "The fact that there is no structural damage, we all hear loudly," said coach Brown, with Embiid to be re-evaluated in a week.

    "It's as much from the personal standpoint as it is a selfish coach that he's looking forward to this run home, this final third, the responsibility, no Ben for how long we'll all figure out in time.

    "To learn that from his perspective and from the team's perspective, that is exciting news."

  • Davis leads Lakers in LeBron's absence, 76ers win without Embiid and Simmons Davis leads Lakers in LeBron's absence, 76ers win without Embiid and Simmons

    Anthony Davis led the way as the Lebron James-less Los Angeles Lakers accounted for the Golden State Warriors 116-86 in the NBA.

    James sat out Thursday's trip to San Francisco due to a sore groin, but star Lakers team-mate Davis stepped up with 23 points and six rebounds.

    Kyle Kuzma posted 18 points, while Dwight Howard (13), JaVale McGee (12), Rajon Rondo (12) and Avery Bradley (12) all contributed for the Lakers on the road.

    It was a seventh consecutive win for Western Conference leaders the Lakers, who improved to 45-12.

    Meanwhile, the lowly Warriors were led by Eric Paschall's 23 points off the bench.

     

    Harris leads 76ers

    In the absence of injured All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris stepped up for the Philadelphia 76ers. Harris posted a game-high 34 points in a 115-106 win over the lowly New York Knicks. The 76ers improved their league-best home record to 28-2. Shake Milton starred from the three-point line, nailing all five of his attempts on his way to 19 points.

    Danilo Gallinari scored 24 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder rallied from 19 points down to top the Sacramento Kings 112-108. It was Oklahoma City's fifth consecutive victory.

    Domantas Sabonis tallied his 45th double-double of the season to see the Indiana Pacers past the Portland Trail Blazers 106-100. Sabonis finished with 20 points and 11 rebounds. CJ McCollum had 28 points for the Trail Blazers, while Hassan Whiteside put up 18 points and 16 rebounds.

     

    Bazemore endures tough night

    The Kings lost and Kent Bazemore struggled. The shooting guard was three of 12 from the field and 0 of three from beyond the arc for seven points in 18 minutes.

    Sixers recruits Glenn Robinson III and Alec Burks – who were both acquired from the Warriors on the deadline – had a chance to impress against the Knicks but failed to do so. In the starting five, Robinson played 21 minutes but was just two of six from the field for a paltry four points. Burks, meanwhile, was two of 10 from the field and made just one of his four three-point attempts as he scored seven.

     

    CP3 with the no-look pass

    Chris Paul teed up Thunder team-mate Steve Adams in cool fashion.

     

    Thursday's results

    Oklahoma City Thunder 112-108 Sacramento Kings
    Indiana Pacers 106-100 Portland Trail Blazers
    Philadelphia 76ers 115-106 New York Knicks
    Los Angeles Lakers 116-86 Golden State Warriors

     

    Thunder at Bucks

    The NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks (50-8) play host to the in-form Thunder on Friday. Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks are riding a four-game winning streak.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.