With LeBron James and Anthony Davis out, Lakers know they need to shoot more

Clippers guard Patrick Beverley shouts from the sideline as Lakers guard Dennis Schroder looks to shoot.
Clippers guard Patrick Beverley, left, shouts as Lakers guard Dennis Schroder looks to shoot during the Lakers’ loss Sunday.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)
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To Lakers point guard Dennis Schroder, the key to fixing the team’s struggling offense doesn’t require complex solutions. It’s easy. Do the right thing; make more shots.

“Executing, making shots, playing defense so we can play faster,” Schroder said during a videoconference from the Lakers’ practice in Tampa, Fla.

But Schroder’s diagnosis is somehow both too specific and too general. The Lakers’ biggest problem is that they don’t have LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the planets in which all of the team’s plans orbit. The Lakers’ other problem, without them, is that they haven’t been able to sustain the level of play they attained recently in wins over sub-.500 teams.


Since James’ ankle injury on March 20, the Lakers are scoring just 99.7 points per 100 possessions, second worst in the NBA since that date. No team with an offensive rating below 107 has a winning record. If you stretch it back to when Davis re-aggravated his calf injury, the Lakers’ offense is the sixth-least efficient in the NBA.

The Lakers begin a trip Tuesday and return home April 15, but coach Frank Vogel said there’s no telling when LeBron James or Anthony Davis will play.

April 4, 2021

Sunday against the Clippers, the Lakers pointed to an offense that was too disjointed — in part because of the Clippers’ improving defense and in part because the Lakers deviated from their plan.

“I felt like some stretches we weren’t out there playing together,” starting shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope said. “I know like these stretches of games that we have, we got LeBron, AD and [Andre] Drummond out, for us other guys, we have to play together as much as possible. We got to pull for each other. And I feel like the ball didn’t move as well in some stretches. We got to also have great ball movement. Everybody’s got to be involved.

“It can’t just be one on one and stuff like that. I felt like we kind of did that a little bit in some stretches of the game.”

The Lakers, who traveled Sunday night to Florida to play the NBA’s lone Canadian team, the Toronto Raptors, held a rare practice to try to reinforce their offensive principles.

“We’ve shown a lot of offensive tape of late to try to just get us a better rhythm. I thought we had a similar practice today to what we had after the Milwaukee game. Offensive fundamentals,” coach Frank Vogel said. “And hopefully … I thought there was carryover from the Milwaukee game to the Kings game, hopefully there’s carryover into the Toronto game tomorrow.”


The Lakers are struggling when it comes to scoring points and getting to the century mark. Here’s what we learned from their loss to the Clippers.

April 5, 2021

The Lakers have been playing well on defense in this stretch without their stars, and turning that defense into offense will help mitigate the losses to injury that are unavoidable. They did it in a win at Sacramento on Friday, the blueprint for how they can make things work in the short-term.

“We had a hell of a game in Sacramento. I think we played phenomenal on defense, and on the offensive end we just moved the ball,” Schroder said. “I always say when you play good defense and get stops, and when everybody else on the offensive end is sharing it, we running the floor, getting open threes … playing good defense, and then turning it into offense.

“Making shots and everybody’s feeling good, and I think that’s what it comes down to. Defense and we play together, and we’ll be fine.”



When: 4:30 p.m. PDT, Tuesday

On the air: TV: Spectrum SportsNet; Radio: 710, 1330

Update: The Lakers begin this five-game trip up and back the Atlantic coast playing against the Raptors, a team that’s struggled this season after being displaced to Florida for the season and dealing with a rash of COVID issues. Kyle Lowry didn’t move at the trade deadline, but the team has still struggled with him around. Drummond is listed as questionable, as is Wesley Matthews.