The Los Angeles Lakers have tumbled down the Western Conference playoff picture into concerning territory. The lackluster play has created growing outside doubt concerning the franchise’s championship chances. However, LeBron James may finally have some promising news that crushes that negative sentiment.
Lakers limping toward the playoffs
The Lakers continue their winding path, falling further down the Western Conference standings.
Los Angeles enters Tuesday’s contest against the New York Knicks, losing eight out of their previous 10 games. The tough stretch has pushed them to the fifth overall spot to potentially participating in the play-in tournament in the seventh seed.
However, Anthony Davis’ recent strong play has fired off much internal encouragement. In the last two games, Davis has tallied at least 35 points, 12 rebounds, and five assists. He became the first player in Lakers history to record 42 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, three steals, and three blocks in a single game.
His production goes far beyond that as he’s back to being a dominant force on both ends of the floor. Davis is creating havoc in the paint offensively, as evident by his 32 free throw attempts in the last two games while he’s looked quite spry defending the paint.
The Lakers now have another reason to become quite confident about the playoffs due to their other superstar.
LeBron James finally has promising news that should excite Lakers fans
Since the Lakers decided to sideline James again, much of the attention lies directed on his health.
Los Angeles continues to voice optimism concerning the state of his ankle, despite the regular season quickly winding down. There is some significant reason for that positive vibe around the four-time league MVP.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, James strung together back-to-back days of solid on-court work where he was pain-free, making hard cuts and elevating.
Those factors underline that James is moving closer toward minimizing the lingering issues. Recent reports indicated the 36-year-old would play through the playoffs with some discomfort.
The latest development diminishes a bit of the concern and sheds light on why Anthony Davis was optimistic about James after Sunday’s win over the Suns.
Indications are that he will either return to the floor on Tuesday night against the New York Knicks or Wednesday to face the Indiana Pacers. James will have less than a handful of games to get physically prepared for the playoffs.
Los Angeles gearing up for strong playoff push
The last couple of weeks haven’t been promising for the Lakers, but the franchise remains internally optimistic.
Davis sparked much of that mindset with his recent play proving that he may be physically back to himself. The star forward continues to string together dominating performances with James sidelined.
Meanwhile, James’ imminent return to the fold will provide Los Angeles another massive boost. He will have a few games to get his legs under him before the playoffs, which may be enough to get him in rhythm.
Dennis Schroder should be back for at least a game or two after missing more than a week due to the health and safety protocol. His return gives the Lakers another dynamic scorer and ball-handler while moving Alex Caruso back to the bench.
Los Angeles may not garner a top-six playoff seed, but their confidence hasn’t waned. The proof will need to be in the pudding in the coming weeks.