Although Kevin Durant didn’t play in Saturday’s Los Angeles Lakers vs Brooklyn Nets matchup due to COVID-19 protocols, that didn’t stop the “Slim Reaper” from having a little Twitter fun following his team’s 122-115 win over the struggling Lakers at the newly named Crypto.com Arena.
James Harden returned from COVID-19 protocols to post a triple-double (36/10/10) and Patty Mills chimed in with 34 points, including eight made threes.
Durant took a subtle jab at the Lakers following BK’s big road win on Christmas Day. The loss extended the Lakers’ season-long losing streak to five games.
Pack em up Nets world
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) December 26, 2021
The Brooklyn Nets official Twitter account joined in on
“And to all a good night”
And to all a good night@qatarairways pic.twitter.com/oxtUhTBTAL
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) December 26, 2021
Lakers Pieces Don’t Fit: Too Many Moving Parts
The Lakers swapped out nine players from last year’s 12-man roster, only retaining LBJ, Anthony Davis and Talen Horton-Tucker. Basketball heads are still trying to figure out why the Lakers were so gung-ho on keeping THT, when the franchise could have landed NBA Champion Kyle Lowry in a trade.
Adding a lot of aged former superstars in the offseason hasn’t helped one bit. The biggest shocker came in the form of trading for Russell Westbrook, when his skillset didn’t accentuate what Lebron James and Anthony Davis do best.
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The deal to trade for Sacramento Kings sharpshooter Buddy Hield would have been a better fit for how this Lakers roster is constructed. Hield brings consistent outside shooting and a more controlled style of play off the ball.
The loss of Alex Caruso via free agency was more impactful than folks want to admit, but he brought an energy and toughness that this team sorely lacks. The Lakers’ “Big 3” hasn’t blended well.
“The trio of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook simply hasn’t blended as well as Lakers figures hoped, and Los Angeles has held internal discussions on trade scenarios for Russell Westbrook” 😳
– @JakeLFischer pic.twitter.com/5aUNeFxkQt
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) December 14, 2021
With Anthony Davis’ injuries and LeBron James having so many miles on his body, the Westbrook trade was thought to be a load management move. It was done to allow Bron and AD to rest throughout the season and still have another star option to carry the workload and lead. That experiment hasn’t come to fruition with Bron missing time and now AD out at least four weeks with a sprained MCL. This team is reeling with no relief in sight.
James attributes their glaring defensive struggles to not having the complete roster available. That’s just one of several explanations he’s offered for the Lakers’ woes.
LeBron James attributed the Lakers' recent defensive struggles to missing their key players on that end of the floor.https://t.co/r3LtdyBAiZ pic.twitter.com/ZoEU7Ssyyk
— Lakers Nation (@LakersNation) December 25, 2021
James Strangely Says Warriors, Suns Have Full Complement Of Players
James attempted to deflect the Lakers’ shoddy performance during his postgame presser by saying he thinks every team has guys out except the two best teams in the league in the Warriors (27-6) and Suns (26-6).
“Nobody’s gonna feel sorry for you, no one’s gonna feel sorry for your record, nobody’s gonna feel sorry for guys being out because everybody, besides I think Golden State and Phoenix… everybody has guys out,” said the four-time NBA champion, who personally crafted this Lakers team to his liking.
LeBron’s analysis is inaccurate. The Lakers’ problems began way before the NBA’s COVID-19 outbreak. Two losses to the OKC Thunder, a loss to the Sacramento Kings. That just can’t happen. The inexcusable 28-point home loss on Thursday to the Spurs in the last game at the Staples Center. These problems stem from wholesale roster changes one season after winning a title and then losing to a better team in the first round of last year’s playoffs.
This team as constructed isn’t capable of winning a round in the playoffs, let alone represent the West in the NBA Finals. James is still great at 37, but he’s no longer capable of carrying a team. When opposing teams are playing Twitter games and not taking the Lakers seriously, that means it’s officially panic time in LA.
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