The Los Angeles Lakers won the NBA championship a year ago and have been considered one of the favorites to win it again this season. But injuries have made their road to another title considerably more difficult this year. Now, the Lakers have to overcome some tough challenges if they want to repeat as champions.
Current Playoff Situation
LeBron James and the Lakers find themselves in a 3-2 hole against the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. After being beaten in the first game of the series, the Lakers went onto win Games Two and Three before losing Games Four and Five. Now, the Lakers find themselves one game away from being eliminated at the hands of the Suns and James’ close friend, Chris Paul.
For the Lakers, the biggest issue during this postseason has been their offense. The Lakers have been held under 100 points three times in this series, losing all three of those game. Finding consistent scoring behind James has been a challenge as the role players of the Lakers have yet to step up the way they did last year in the bubble.
LA Injury Concerns
A reason for the scoring issues for the Lakers has been the injury woes for Anthony Davis. Meant to be the Robin to LeBron’s Batman, Davis is dealing with a groin strain and knee issues during this series that caused him to miss a pivotal Game 5, which the Lakers lost. If Davis is unable to come back in this series, the Lakers’ chances of getting out of the first round diminish severely.
“It’s a medical decision,” Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said. “If we feel he’s at risk for injuring it further, then obviously, they won’t have him be out there.”
Path to Finals and Odds
The injuries that kept Davis and James out for much of the regular season made Los Angeles’ road to the NBA Finals significantly more difficult. If they manage to escape the first round against the second-seeded Suns, the Lakers will play the winner of the series between the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers. From there, they would still have to face higher seeds in the next two rounds.
Despite the fact that the Lakers are dealing with so much adversity at the moment, they are still considered one of the favorites to come away with the NBA championship. Down 3-2 to the Suns, the Lakers are still listed by the online sportsbook at +900 odds to win the 2021 NBA Finals. And while it is hard to count a team out with James leading them, one has to wonder just how far the Lakers can go if they can’t get anything out of Davis. Online betting on the Lakers is still a good pick, but make sure you keep an eye on updates