The Lakers head into this week 6-4 in their last 10 games, including three wins and two losses since the tragic death of Lakers’ legend Kobe Bryant. The team and entire organization, for that matter, is still reeling, mourning, and healing. There is not a team in the league that is in more need of the all star break than Los Angeles.
That being said, the Lakers still had two games to play this week before getting a much needed rest, including a trip to Denver to play the second-seeded Nuggets.
With the break so close, the effort the Lakers would have left to give for the final two games was in question, to say the least. However, the team flew back to Los Angeles with two more wins under their belt Wednesday night to close the first half of the season, winning two impressive games against the Suns and Nuggets, respectively. Championship level teams find ways to win games in multiple different ways and that is what the Lakers showed this week.
They won their 40th game of the season on Monday, their first time doing so before the all star break in a decade.
Lakers vs. Suns (2/10/20)
On Monday night, the Phoenix Suns came to Staples Center to take on the Lakers. This game was all about Rajon Rondo and Anthony Davis. Davis put up 25 points and 10 rebounds as the Suns lacked size all night. DeAndre Ayton was out with an injury, while Phoenix continues to miss Aaron Baynes and Dario Saric as well.
In typical LeBron fashion, James posted 17 points, 9 assists, and 8 rebounds, doing a little bit of everything.
The biggest surprise of the night was Rajon Rondo, who undoubtedly had his best game of the season. Rondo posted 23 points on 13 shots, his highest mark of the season. Rondo also added 6 assists, 4 rebounds, and was a +22 in his time on the floor. That was the highest mark on the team. For the Suns, Devin Booker was held to 10 points on 11 shots. Danny Green did an exceptional job defending Booker throughout the night. After a close first quarter, the Lakers cruised to a 125-100 victory here to win their 40th game of the year.
Lakers @ Nuggets (2/12/20)
On Wednesday, the Lakers hit the road to travel to Denver and take on the Nuggets. The Nuggets entered the game 8-2 in their last 10 games, positioning themselves as the second seed out west. The Lakers, looking to avoid losing their first conference game away from LA, wanted to secure one more big win before the break. The result? Possibly the game of the year thus far in the NBA. There were plenty of offensive fireworks in this game, both teams shooting over 50% from the field. For the Lakers, this game was a showcase for their two superstars.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis combined for 65 points, James scoring 32 and Davis 33. LeBron posted 14 assists and 12 rebounds, securing his 12th triple double of the campaign. Davis added 10 rebounds, as well as 2 blocks and 2 steals. Alex Caruso was also pivotal off the bench for the Lakers, contributing 10 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists. Additionally, Caruso was a team high +23 in 22 minutes. The Nuggets gave the Lakers their best shot, with Jamal Murray scoring 32 points on 25 shots. The back-and-forth contest went into overtime tied at 111 after LeBron’s game winning shot attempt bounced off the rim. After Denver’s Gary Harris tied the game at 116 with a 3-pointer, however, the Nuggets went cold. Jokic made multiple mistakes in the final minutes, including passing up a 3 pointer, the score 119-116 with 20 seconds left. The Lakers ended up winning, 120-116, ending the week 2-0.
This was a big week for the Lakers. They needed to go into the break on a high note after the past few weeks. Especially the game in Denver, which LeBron said he viewed as somewhat of a playoff prep game. Going into a place like Denver and defeating the league’s hottest team is nothing to overlook. The Lakers will use this break to rest emotionally and physically, before hitting the home stretch and gearing up for the playoffs.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis will compete in the NBA All Star Game tonight, 2/16
Lakers will host Memphis after the all star break on February 21st.
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