A real sign of LeBron James’ decline? 3 takeaways from Lakers’ loss to Pacers

A real sign of LeBron James’ decline? 3 takeaways from Lakers’ loss to Pacers

Lakers coach Darvin Ham instructs his players during the final seconds of Monday’s loss.

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

As the Lakers struggled to get stops in the fourth quarter, when the Indiana 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. While Anthony Davis pointed to effort as a key part of working the glass, the Lakers’ closing lineup included guards 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.

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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 role players (or more) for one, helping to rebalance the roster.

As the team struggled on both ends of the court, the Lakers weren’t flush with options.


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