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Basketball Daily Dose

LeBron, Davis-less Lakers win 4th of 7 on road

by Matt Ellentuck
Updated On: April 14, 2021, 11:54 am ET

The Lakers are without LeBron James (high ankle sprain) and Anthony Davis (calf strain), which should spell doom for the franchise that very blatantly won a championship last season on the backs of its two superstars. Yet somehow, L.A. wrapped up a seven-game road trip on Tuesday night with a 4-3 record including wins over the Nets, Raptors, Kings, and Hornets. Have we been underestimating the Lakers’ supporting cast?

Since April 1, the LeBron- and Davis-less Lakers have outscored opponents by 3.5 points per 100 possessions. That number would rank them ninth in the NBA this season, and is just .46 points per 100 possessions lower than the Lakers' average so far in the regular season. That’s pretty dang good over a not insignificant sample size.

The Lakers are winning because their already elite defense is playing even better. Offensively, there’s been a steep drop-off (down 3.03 points per 100 possessions), but the team is making up for it with quick feet and long arms. The absence of the team’s superstars has meant more minutes for plus-defenders like Talen Horton-Tucker, Dennis Schroder, and new-addition Andre Drummond.

The Lakers' new rotation has held opponents to 104.1 points per 100 possessions over the last seven games. That number is more than 2.5 points per 100 possessions better than the already league-leading number the franchise is posting this season.

L.A.’s defensive consistency leaves reason for fans to believe that the Lakers can withstand the absence of James and Davis for at least a little while longer. It’s helped mitigate the need for incredible scoring, though Schroder’s done a stellar job as a lead playmaker. 

Some nights, it won’t be enough. But if L.A. can piece together strong scoring nights from any of Markieff Morris, Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, or Schroder, they should remain in games. If Davis’s re-evaluation goes well on Thursday, maybe that’s all the franchise will need to hold itself in range of a top-4 seed in the Western Conference until the star returns.

Let’s see how the Lakers fare in a tough five-stretch coming up against the Celtics, Jazz (twice), and Mavericks (twice). But so far, this is as good as the team could hope for.

Now let’s talk about all seven games from Tuesday night.

Nets 127, Timberwolves 97

The great

Kevin Durant — Durant scored 31 points on 11-of-15 shooting with four 3-pointers, four assists, four rebounds, and four turnovers in 27 minutes.

Joe Harris  — Harris scored 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting with five 3-pointers, three rebounds, three assists, two steals, and three turnovers in 29 minutes.

The good

Bruce Brown — Brown came off the bench to score nine points on just 4-of-15 shooting with 12 rebounds, three assists, three steals, one block, and three turnovers in 23 minutes.

Anthony Edwards — Edwards scored 27 points on 8-of-22 shooting with two 3-pointers, eight rebounds, two assists, one steal, one block, and one turnover in 33 minutes.

Ed Davis — In just 10 minutes, Davis scored two points with 10 rebounds, one assist, two steals, and two blocks without a turnover.

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Hawks 108, Raptors 103

The great

Clint Capela — Capela scored 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting with 21 rebounds, one assist, one block, and one turnover in 35 minutes.

Pascal Siakam — Siakam scored 30 points on 13-of-19 shooting with one 3-pointer, seven assists, six rebounds, two blocks, and five turnovers in 40 minutes.

Malachi Flynn — Flynn scored 22 points on 8-of-18 shooting with six 3-pointers, five rebounds, three assists, two steals, and no turnovers in 35 minutes.

The good

Bogdan Bogdanovic — Bogdanovic scored 23 points on 9-of-18 shooting with five 3-pointers, six rebounds, four assists, one steal, and three turnovers in a full 40 minutes.

Clippers 126, Pacers 115

The great

Marcus Morris — Morris scored 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting with three 3-pointers, seven rebounds, three assists, and no turnovers in 30 minutes.

Paul George — George scored 36 points on 12-of-25 shooting with four 3-pointers, eight assists, seven rebounds, two steals, and five turnovers in 38 minutes.

Malcolm Brogdon — Brogdon scored 29 points on 12-of-18 shooting with three 3-pointers, five rebounds, four assists, and two turnovers in 36 minutes.

Caris LeVert — LeVert scored 26 points on 7-of-18 shooting with one 3-pointer, six rebounds, six assists, two steals, three blocks, and two turnovers in 36 minutes.

The good

Nicolas Batum — Batum scored 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting with two 3-pointers, five rebounds, one assist, one steal, and five blocks with three turnovers in 28 minutes.

Domantas Sabonis — Sabonis scored 20 points on 9-of-17 shooting with one 3-pointer, 13 rebounds, two assists, one steal, and three turnovers in 37 minutes.

Lakers 101, Hornets 93

The great

Caleb Martin — Martin scored 17 points on 7-of-14 shooting with three 3-pointers, 10 rebounds, five assists, one steal, and one turnover in 35 minutes

The good

Kyle Kuzma — Kuzma scored 24 points on 7-of-18 shooting with four 3-pointers, four rebounds, one assist, and two turnovers in 34 minutes.

Dennis Schroder — Schroder scored 19 points on 8-of-19 shooting with three 3-pointers, six assists, four rebounds, two steals, and one turnover in 36 minutes.

Bismack Biyombo — Biyombo scored 10 points in 4-of-6 shooting with 12 rebounds, one assist, one block, and one turnover in 28 minutes.

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Jazz 106, Thunder 96

The great

Luguentz Dort — Dort scored 42 points on 16-of-31 shooting with seven 3-pointers, seven rebounds, three assists, four steals, and two turnovers in 37 minutes.

Moses Brown — Brown scored 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting with 15 rebounds, two steals, one block, and two turnovers in 26 minutes.

Rudy Gobert — Gobert scored 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting with 14 rebounds, one assist, one steal, seven blocks, and two turnovers in 34 minutes.

Mike Conley — Conley scored 15 points on 5-of-13 shooting with three 3-pointers, 14 assists, two steals, one block, and no turnovers in 34 minutes. 

The good

Georges Niang — Niang scored 18 points on 6-of-14 shooting with all six makes coming from 3-point range. He added 10 rebounds, three assists, and no turnovers in 34 minutes.

Suns 106, Heat 86

The great

Bam Adebayo — Adebayo scored 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting with 10 rebounds, five assists, three steals, one block, and four turnovers in 33 minutes.

Jimmy Butler — Butler scored 18 points on 6-of-16 shooting with two 3-pointers, eight assists, four rebounds, two steals, and one turnover in 32 minutes.

Deandre Ayton — Ayton scored 19 points on 8-of-10 shooting with 13 rebounds, one assist, two steals, one block, and three turnovers in 27 minutes.

The good

Cameron Payne — Payne scored 14 points on 4-of-8 shooting with two 3-pointers, seven assists, five rebounds, one steal, and one turnover in 22 minutes.

Celtics 116, Trail Blazers 115

The great

Jayson Tatum — Tatum scored 32 points on 10-of-17 shooting with four 3-pointers, nine rebounds, five assists, one steal, one block, and three turnovers.

Kemba Walker — Walker scored 21 points on 7-of-17 shooting with four 3-pointers, eight rebounds, seven assists, one steal, and one turnover in 36 minutes.

The good 

Damian Lillard — Lillard scored 28 points on 9-of-23 shooting with five 3-pointers, 10 assists, five rebounds, and five turnovers in 37 minutes.

Carmelo Anthony — Anthony scored 25 points on 10-of-15 shooting with three 3-pointers, two rebounds, one assist, one block, and two turnovers in 28 minutes.

Norman Powell Powell scored 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting with four 3-pointers, four rebounds, three assists, one steal, and one turnover in 38 minutes.

Matt Ellentuck

Matt Ellentuck is a freelance fantasy NBA writer for NBC Sports Edge. Previously, he was an NBA and WNBA reporter for SB Nation. Follow him on Twitter @mellentuck