Stats Prove Lakers Are Not Affected By LeBron James and Anthony Davis’ Absence on the Defensive End

Published 04/11/2021, 5:14 AM EDT
Apr 10, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Los Angeles Lakers center Andre Drummond (2) fights for the ball against Brooklyn Nets small forward Bruce Brown (1) and power forward Jeff Green (8) during the first quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports


The Los Angeles Lakers came up with a huge win tonight as they beat an offensive powerhouse in Brooklyn Nets. Going into the matchup, the Nets were the clear favorites as the Lakers were missing two of their superstars in LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

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Not only are LeBron and AD are crucial in their offense, but they are also arguably their two best players defensively. But the Lakers limited the Nets’ blistering offense, limiting Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant to 18 points and 22 points, respectively. The Lakers ultimately blew out the Nets 126-101.

Statistic shows Lakers’ emphatic defense despite missing LBJ & Davis

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With their latest win, the Lakers improved their record to 5 wins and 6 losses. While they have had a hard time in keeping up with the offensive rating without LeBron, the Lakers have remained an elite defensive team.

Since LBJ’s injury, the champions have somehow improved their defensive rating to 105.2 and are the top defensive team in the league. Given how important James and Davis are to the team in limiting opposition’s offense, this statistic is somewhat staggering.

Coach Vogel has brought his ‘A game’ for the champions. Deploying players like Alex Caruso and Dennis Schroder to defend against explosive guards and playing Markieff Morris and Andre Drummond to handle the big men, the Lakers are out-muscling their opposition.

Drummond is certainly a great pickup for this system. While Marc Gasol does provide size, the lack of athleticism is a big negative for the Spaniard. Drummond, meanwhile, absolutely destroyed Nets’ center LaMarcus Aldridge in the paint.

Can the Lakers continue to elite defensively?

How the injuries to AD and LeBron been a blessing in disguise

The Lakers looked like a shadow of themselves after the injury to LeBron James. Without their talisman on the roster, the champions initially looked clueless.

But in the last five games, the Lakers have significantly improved. With Dennis Schroder and sophomore sensation Talen Horton-Tucker conducting the offense, the team looks more cohesive.

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Apr 10, 2021; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Los Angeles Lakers point guard Dennis Schroder (17) controls the ball against Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Landry Shamet (20) during the second quarter at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

This has also coincided with a massive jump in their three point shooting. The Lakers, who have struggled all-season from the perimeter, have shot 44.2% beyond the arc in the last five games.

This is crucial for the purple & gold, as role players will be gaining some much needed momentum ahead of the post-season. Last season, veteran role players were pretty key for the champions.

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Given that key players are finally stepping up and the team’s three point shooting is finally improving, LBJ’s injury has been a blessing in disguise for Frank Vogel & Co.

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Aditya Mohapatra

982 articles

Aditya Mohapatra is a sports enthusiast who primarily covers the NBA for EssentiallySports. Having graduated in Mass Communication, he has prior experience in writing for ABP News, and has been writing for EssentiallySports since November 2020. This die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan feels that LeBron James is the best thing to have ever happened to the NBA, and will hold a healthy debate with anyone suggesting otherwise.

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