Los Angeles Lakers Make No Moves at NBA Trade Deadline After Big Wins in Boston and New York

Los Angeles Lakers Make No Moves at NBA Trade Deadline After Big Wins in Boston and New York
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After many trade rumors surrounding the team, the Los Angeles Lakers decided to stay put at the NBA trade deadline today. The Lakers’ game in Boston without LeBron James and Anthony Davis was seen as a loss before it started, but the team prevailed. The New York Knicks had a nine-game winning streak before the Lakers’ game, with everyone saying they’d hit 10 wins. But the Lakers and LeBron James ended that notion. With such great play from the team, especially after Lebron’s cryptic tweet, Rob Pelinka decided the best course of action was to stick to the current roster, much to the dismay of some fans.

Just Do Your Job

LeBron James' patience was tested after a tough loss against the Atlanta Hawks, with the trade deadline looming over the Lakers' heads.
LeBron James’ patience was tested after a tough loss against the Atlanta Hawks, with the trade deadline looming over the Lakers’ heads.

Not having LeBron James and Anthony Davis, who have carried the Lakers in almost every win this season, is dreadful. Without Davis’ defense prowess or LeBron’s playmaking, the team looks worse than the Detroit Pistons. With how poorly they play sometimes, the NBA trade deadline looked to be a big moment for Rob Pelinka to make phone calls to other NBA GMs.

In a post-game interview after a bad loss against the Atlanta Hawks, LeBron James had a few words about his teammates:

“We could, on any given night, beat any team in the NBA. And then, on any given night, we could get our a** kicked… I don’t have any message for my teammates. Just go out and do your job.”

Alongside this, LeBron tweeted out a single hourglass emoji. With plenty of speculation surrounding the cryptic post, many assumed that time was running out for the Lakers. All eyes focused on the Boston game, presuming it to be a blowout win for the Celtics, who have only suffered two losses at home so far this season. As the NBA trade deadline approached, the role players seized their opportunity to demonstrate to both LeBron and management that no trades were necessary.

A Lakers’ Game in Boston to Remember

Austin Reaves shocked the NBA world with a 32-point game in a victory over the Boston Celtics, proving no changes need to be made at the trade deadline.
Austin Reaves shocked the NBA world with a 32-point game in a victory over the Boston Celtics, proving no changes need to be made at the trade deadline.

Without LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Celtics team must’ve had the same assumption that this was an easy win because they did not show up. Austin Reaves had a season-high 32 points with five threes alongside D’Angelo Russell‘s 14 assists to achieve a stunning win.

The Celtics shot extremely poorly from three-point range, shooting 16-48 with plenty of contested threes. Jayson Tatum shot 8-21 alongside Jaylen Brown, who shot a dreadful 4-12. Boston has moments during games where they will shoot many contested threes in hopes of making a comeback. Tatum is especially guilty of this, and although he can make them, it is generally a sign of lazy play.

The Lakers had a fantastic day from three, shooting 19-36, with players like Jarred Vanderbilt even hitting a few. However, an injury cut short Jared’s night, and it has been confirmed that it will keep him out for several weeks, possibly more. Lakers’ fans were adamant about him making the starting lineup after multiple poor performances from Taurean Prince, but that day will have to wait now.

Jaxson Hayes also gained a starting spot after several games of getting barely any minutes. His energy spread across the team, as he put up a season-high 16 points. Max Christie also played valuable minutes, with some stellar defense and a +10 on the court.

After the game, Austin Reaves was asked about how the team took LeBron’s message to heart:

“I mean, it’s a great message, coming from the greatest player ever, in my opinion. That’s what we should do. And tonight, I think that it shows that we listen, and we’re ready to roll.”

Ending the Hot Streak in New York Before the Trade Deadline

Although Jalen Brunson produced 36 points, it wasn't enough to defeat the Lakers, ending their 9-game win streak.
Although Jalen Brunson produced 36 points, it wasn’t enough to defeat the Lakers, ending their 9-game win streak.

Two days later, after Boston, the Lakers made their way to the bright lights of New York. The shining Knicks, on a 9-game winning streak, were looking forward to increasing that win streak more against the Lakers. However, with Julius Randle, OG Anunoby, and Mitchell Robinson all out, Jalen Brunson would have to carry them to victory. Alongside those injuries, LeBron James and Anthony Davis returned for the Lakers.

One great lineup change to begin the game for the Lakers was the starting lineup. Tauren Prince was moved to the bench, with Rui Hachimura starting. Fans had been begging for Prince to be a sparkplug off the bench, and Darvin Ham finally made the move. And what a move it was. Even though Prince played 33 minutes compared to Hachimura’s 19, he played fantastic off the bench, scoring 16 on 6-10 shooting.

Another great move was the increased minutes of Max Christie. Without Vanderbilt, Christie provided 26 minutes off the bench and had a team-high +12. Fans greatly appreciated his stellar defense in particular, as without Vanderbilt, the Laker’s defensive efficiency significantly drops. Without Vanderbilt, the Lakers’ defensive rating is 114.2, while with him it is 117. This may seem like a small number change, but it moves the Lakers from 14th to 21st in defensive rating.

The Knicks did not go down with a fight, especially Brunson. Playing the entire second half, the Villanova star scored 36 points on 15-31 shooting, alongside Donte DiVincenzo‘s 26 points. But in the 4th quarter, the stamina of the Knicks dwindled as LeBron hit a fadeaway to silence the crowd.

After the Trade Deadline

Now that the trade deadline has come and gone with no changes, what is next for the Lakers? Will D’Angelo Russell regress to his play before his name was in trade talks? There are a lot of question marks surrounding the team. All the role players could regress, confident that the City of Angels wouldn’t trade them. This will motivate the team to play together because they see the trust that management has in the current roster. Only time will tell, alongside the upcoming game tonight against the defending champions, the Denver Nuggets.

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