The Los Angeles Lakers suffered their fourth straight loss since losing star big man Anthony Davis to a foot injury, and the team is becoming more aware of its limitations with him out of the lineup.
"Reality is, without AD, we lose a lot of length which we don't have already," Lakers star LeBron James told reporters after Sunday's 124-115 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. "So we have to make up in ways that, without AD, is very difficult, very challenging. So, I think at one point we had a lineup of I think [Austin Reaves] was the tallest guy on the court. So, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure it out [that Davis is sorely missed]."
The Lakers held an 11-point lead at halftime before surrendering 51 points in the third quarter alone to allow the Mavs to pull away. It was the fourth straight game that Los Angeles has allowed an opponent to score 124 points or more.
To James' point, Lakers coach Darvin Ham played a lineup that saw 6'3" point guard Russell Westbrook playing the center position Sunday. Ham stressed that it's necessary for Los Angeles to do whatever it takes to mitigate the loss of Davis.
"You throw everything up against the wall and see what sticks, " Ham said. "It's one of those types of situations. AD's not here, not in the lineup. We're not going to start using that as an excuse. Hell yeah, it's a big hole in our lineup. But now, we're pros. We've got to step up."
The Lakers fell to 13-20 with the loss and face a daunting task of climbing out of a steep hole in the talented Western Conference. While Los Angeles has shown resiliency at times throughout the season, James expressed concern over the team's chances to turn its season around.
"I think I look at it that way," James said, when asked if the Lakers' track record gives him confidence in their chances to right the ship. "I look at it the other way, too, like, how many times are you going to try to dig yourselves out until it's too much dirt on you?"
Los Angeles will look to end its skid when it visits the Orlando Magic (13-21) on Tuesday.