Whether or not Russell Westbrook and LeBron James play tonight is a game-time decision for Lakers head coach Frank Vogel to make.
It should be safe to say that the Lakers are perhaps the most underperforming team of the year thus far. And it’s not like they haven’t had competition – the likes of Washington, New York and Brooklyn have all failed to live up to their preseason billing.
What makes it worse for the Lakers is that they really have no way of getting away from the Russell Westbrook trade. It was a shot in the foot of gigantic proportions by Rob Pelinka.
LeBron James and Anthony Davis reportedly pushed for this move to be made. They’re now stuck playing with a player whose reading of the game isn’t developed enough for him to be useful these days.
The Lakers’ other perimeter defenders are even worse than Westbrook, though. LeBron James is often caught napping on defense as well. The King’s ability to defensive control games is long gone with age now.
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Ultimately, they seem fated to finish in a play-in spot. They have tough competition from the Clippers to face, most likely for a play-in berth.
Is LeBron James playing tonight vs Portland Trail Blazers?
LeBron James and Russell Westbrook were both named last minute on the Lakers’ injury report. While James is questionable with a knee problem that has persisted for a while, Westbrook has a bit of residual lower back tightness.
The Lakers say that LeBron James (left knee) and Russell Westbrook (low back tightness) will be listed as questionable tonight in Portland.
James and Westbrook will test out their injuries pregame and then decide if they’re going to play.
— Jovan Buha (@jovanbuha) February 9, 2022
Without LeBron on the floor, whatever little protection Anthony Davis had from dribble penetration is now completely gone. He’ll have to put in a monster performance to lead them to the dub in LeBron and Russ’s absence.