The Lakers still have three games to get their rhythm back in the NBA’s bubble and, upon last check, they still employ LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

So while the alarms are not yet sounding on the Lakers’ slow start in Orlando, some are at least keeping their ears open.

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“I would say it’s not concerning yet, but it’s starting to get concerning,” TNT analyst Kenny Smith said Friday on a Zoom call.

After a loss to the Rockets on Thursday night without James, who was resting a sore groin, the Lakers dropped to 2-3 through five seeding games. One of the wins locked up the top seed in the Western Conference, but their final three games before the playoffs begin will be aimed at getting their groove back.

The Lakers have shot just 33.6 percent from the field during those games as they work through a new roster that lost Avery Bradley (opt-out) and Rajon Rondo (broken thumb) and added veteran guards J.R. Smith and Dion Waiters. James also told reporters Wednesday that the Lakers were working through issues “off the floor.”

lakers nba bubble struggles slow start
J.R. SmithGetty Images

“Definitely early bubble struggles but we don’t know how long they’re lasting because there’s only eight games to get ready for the playoffs,” Smith said. “I think the lack of Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo is bigger than you would have thought, only because when the second unit comes in, there seems to be no continuity yet. [Had] JR Smith and Dion Waiters had been there throughout this season, we’d see a different team. But the fact that those guys are still trying to not only find themselves but find out how they fit in with the team — and because they’re so integral in terms of having the ball in their hands.

“That’s what you’re seeing is, ‘Man, we can’t get over this hump.’ Rondo, he knows how to run a team, he knew what to do with those guys and he knew everyone’s strengths and weaknesses and so did Avery Bradley. That’s what we’re seeing. When one of either AD or LeBron goes out of the game, [there is] a lack of continuity.”

Source: New York Post

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