Lakers Game 1 Loss shows troubling signs: AD disappears, LeBron over passed, no help from the supporting cast

The Los Angeles Lakers went 2,670 days between last night and their last playoff game. LeBron James waited a week to get back into game action.

But when basketball finally arrived in its postseason form, it carried with it the sobering reminder that the orange orb does not discriminate against seed or status.

The Lakers troubling trends from the regular season and seeding games followed the Lakers into the playoffs.

“Obviously, it’s a different scenario where that team has been playing basically Game 7s for the last two weeks,” coach Frank Vogel said, “and we’ve been trying to work guys in and playing games that don’t count in the standings.”

The bottom line in Game 1 was that the Lakers were exactly who they had been in the seeding round and, even worse, the Trail Blazers were, too.

Even with James authoring a playoff masterpiece to dig the Lakers out of a 16-point, first-half hole and build a six-point lead in the fourth quarter, they were undone by another of Lillard’s fearless, trademark 3-pointers from near the half-court logo and a confounding sequence in which Anthony Davis and James each missed a pair of free throws.

Game 1 shined the light on the many flaws of the Lakers. The question remains, can they correct these flaws before its too late?

Anthony Davis continues to disappear when needed most

When the Lakers pulled the trigger on acquiring Davis for their entire young core it was expected that he be the best player on the court. He was expected to be the go to guy for a needed basket. The guy who would take over late in games.

Unfortunately for the Lakers, Davis has been that guy for about 24 minutes, not the full 48 minutes. This isn’t a new development either. Davis has shrunk and often disappeared late in games all season long. He did so against the Clippers in the regular season, scoring a total of 8 4th quarter points in the 3 games. Last night was just the latest example.

He scored just one point in the 4th quarter, and had a +/- of -11. He missed a pair of clutch free throws and hardly had his name called in the final 6 minutes of the game.

This is an issue that can be and needs to be corrected. Either through coaching or force feeding the big man, Frank Vogel and LeBron need to keep him involved. If not the Lakers will be bounced in round 1.

The Lakers don’t need “assist leader” LeBron

LeBron led the league with a career high 10.2 assists this season. Nothing short of impressive. But in this particular series, going up against the explosive scoring backcourt of Lillard and McCollum, the Lakers need 35 point LeBron.

Every game the Lakers duo of LeBron and Davis need to out score the duo of Lillard and McCollum. The Lakers do not have the supporting cast to win by committee, like the Blazers can.

For this series LeBron needs to turn back the clock to his 2018 self and just explode for 30 plus each game. The passing to Danny Green, Alex Caruso and KCP will only get the Lakers further in holes, and miss extending their leads.

Convert on open perimeter shots and improve guard play

The Lakers missed 27 of their 32 3-point attempts and shot just 35 percent from the field. 16 of those shots were uncontested, wide open shots. The Lakers made 2 of those.

If you’re optimistic, you can say they are getting good looks and that shots will eventually go in. But they are now on the clock. They have a minimum of three games to improve on something that has plagued them for the past nine, dating back to the beginning of their time in Orlando.

“It seems as if that’s a trend for us right now,” said Danny Green, who missed his first four 3s before finishing 2-of-8, “and we’ve got to figure it out.”

Green, Caruso, and KCP played a combined 82 minutes, scoring a total of 13 points on 5-27 shooting.

That is not going to get it done. The Lakers need them to knock down their open 3’s and play defense to annoy and slow down the Blazers backcourt.

If they continue to do neither expect Vogel to insert Dion Waiters and J.R. Smith to at least get the offensive fire power going.

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