LeBron James on decline? Inside Lakers star’s shooting woes
As the Lakers struggled to get stops in the fourth as the Pacers dissolved their 17-point lead over 10 minutes, some problems reemerged.
The Lakers, especially in the final two minutes, couldn’t snuff out possessions as the Pacers dominated the boards, leading to second chances. And while Anthony Davis pointed to effort as a key part of working the glass, the Lakers’ closing lineup consisted of Austin Reaves, Russell Westbrook and Dennis Schroder — not exactly a lot of size. The two players the team counts on for wing minutes, Lonnie Walker IV and Troy Brown Jr. were ineffective enough that the Lakers stayed small, even with Schroder finishing a team-worst minus-16 as Tyrese Haliburton tortured the Lakers defense.
Patrick Beverley, who was serving the last of a three-game suspension for shoving Deandre Ayton, would’ve certainly helped on rebounds, but the Lakers’ lack of size and depth on the wings certainly was a bigger factor.
It’s part of the logic behind trading Westbrook — getting back two usable players (or more) for one, helping to rebalance the roster.
As the team struggled on both ends of the floor, the Lakers weren’t flush with options.