The Lakers faced one of the biggest challenges this season, a seven-game road trip without their two-star players. We can say it was a success as the team had a 4-3 record, including a blowout win in Brooklyn.
Here are three observations from the road trip to keep an eye on for the remainder of the season.
The team is still playing defense on a high level
When both Anthony Davis and LeBron James went down, many people assumed that the defense will take a huge hit. Well, to the surprise of many the Lakers still rank as a top 5 defense. As a matter of fact, since LeBron went down, the Lakers have the fourth-best defense in the league. This has improved every game, as the team had the second-best defense in the league during the span of the 7 game road trip. That’s outstanding, and credit to Frank Vogel for having his team playing at such a high level defensively regardless of all the players that have missed time.
Health is an issue, but the depth has shown up
In just the road trip the Lakers had 12 players miss at least one game. 12!
This may be a consequence of the condensed schedule this season has. Regardless of all the injuries, the Lakers find a way of competing and winning, with role players like Alfonzo McKinnie, Talen Horton-Tucker, and Ben McLemore stepping up and delivering solid performances when needed. This shows the depth the Lakers have, giving head coach Frank Vogel some tough decisions to make in the future when the team is healthier.
The team can fight for a good playoff seed
Many people thought that without James and Davis the Lakers would be fighting in the play-in tournament as the 7th or 8th seed. Well, Anthony Davis is nearing his return, as he has been cleared for on-court activities. The Lakers are currently the 5th seed. They have maintained distanced with Portland and Dallas, while also remaining close to Denver in the 4th seed. Now with Jamal Murray suffering a season-ending injury, the Lakers have a real shot at having a good seed for when the playoffs start.
Featured Image: Via Corey Sipkin/AP