The Fadeaway: Lakers Are 2-6 Since IST Title And Clearly Have Peaked This Season

If the Los Angeles Lakers are your most viable challenger in the West to derail Nikola Jokic (who dropped a 50-piece on Christmas) and the Denver Nuggets’ attempt to secure a second straight NBA championship, then just hand Joker the golden ball today.

How quickly the narrative has changed for LeBron James and the Lakers since winning the Inaugural In-Season Tournament and giving Lakers Nation a glimmer of hope that if this team can get into the playoffs, they would be able to elevate to serious contenders.

We didn’t really buy into it, but enough media talking heads were singing that tune.

Post-IST Tournament Collapse

Since that tournament, the Lakers are 2-6 and according to ESPN’s Kendrick Perkins, Bron is getting “tired” of doing all the heavy lifting. ESPN NBA Analyst Tim Legler says it has less to do with James and credits other contenders with doing more to upgrade their teams. He says the Lakers just aren’t deep enough in comparison to other elite squads.

“After LeBron and AD, what’s that next layer (of players),” Legler wondered before comparing LA to the Boston Celtics. “When I look at Boston’s guys after Tatum and Brown…you look at a Derrick White. You look at a Porzingis. You look at Jrue Holiday. They went out and added two players who basically allow them to play any style. … Because of that I think the Celtics are in a different league than the Lakers right now. “

In his postgame presser, LeBron James agreed with Legler and admitted that the team is still trying to figure it out. No better proof of this than AD coming through with 40 points and 13 boards, but still falling well short of carry the team to victory.

“I don’t think we are where we want to be right now to compete with the top teams until we continue to get batter. We are still trying to figure our situation out as far as how we want to attack each game.”

What’s With The Lakers?

What appeared to be a loaded team with two future Hall of Famers and a solid, multi-dynamic supporting cast is now subscribing to a common theme. When old LeBron plays like young LeBron, the Lakers can beat anybody.

When King James wants to take a day off from carrying the offensive load and lets Anthony Davis lead and other guys get some, the result is usually a loss.

Lakers Stink When LeBron Doesn’t Get 30

According to ESPN, the Lakers are 6-1 in games where LeBron scored more than 30 points. When LeBron isn’t scoring at a 30ppg clip, L.A .is 8-13. On a Christmas Day where LBJ almost messed around and got a triple double (16/9/8), the Lakers were basically run out of the gym by a younger and more athletic Boston Celtics by a score of 126-115.

Celtics superstar Tatum was clearly the best player on the floor with 25 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for a team that is 23-6 and on the rise. Does LeBron have another late comeback in him, or was the IST his last “championship” in the NBA?

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