The Los Angeles Lakers are going to be without LeBron James for a little while longer, as he has been ruled out for at least the next week.
The Los Angeles Lakers have hit a snag in recent weeks. Leading into their big matchup with the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day, the Lakers had lost three of their last four games and four of the previous six.
That date against the Warriors was certainly circled on their calendars and they brought it that night. The Lakers defeated the reigning champs in impressive fashion, 127-101. What made it even more impressive was that it was done without LeBron James for a majority of the second half.
James suffered a groin injury in the third quarter of the game. Things got rocky shortly after, but the young Lakers settled down after that and expanded on their lead.
While that was a nice victory, things have proven to be difficult without James leading the way. Los Angeles has gone 1-3 without James, pushing them down the Western Conference standings into eighth place, only two games ahead of the Sacramento Kings. Now, they have learned they will be without James a little longer.
Mike Trudell of Spectrum SportsNet revealed that James will be sidelined at least one more week, and be re-evaluated in a week as well. That means James will be sidelined at least four more games, including important matchups with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Mavericks.
James was reportedly taking some jumpers earlier this week, which is a step in the right direction. However, without him on the court, there have been some glaring issues.
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The Lakers have struggled to close out games without their leader. They had fourth-quarter leads against the Kings and Oklahoma City Thunder and surrendered a 22-0 run against the Los Angeles Clippers that began late in the third quarter sealed their fate.
While late game collapses have occurred with James on the court this season, it is something they have been improving upon as the season has worn on. There is no guarantee that James would have led the team to victories in the last four games, but there is no doubt he would have helped.
All three are important to the Lakers succeeding this season. However, without James, the Lakers cannot be considered contenders in the Western Conference.
Hopefully, he is able to return when he is re-evaluated next week, as the Lakers cannot afford another extended stretch of losing basketball like they started the season on.
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