Los Angeles Lakers starting guard Dennis Schroder has admitted that the Purple and Gold will play a totally different basketball without LeBron James and Anthony Davis in the lineup. Davis has been already out for a few weeks, while James suffered a high-ankle sprain over the weekend and he is set to miss some time.
On Sunday -- in their first game without James and Davis in the lineup -- the Lakers suffered a 101-94 loss to the Phoenix Suns. "I think how we played before with them two on the court, it's totally opposite now, I think," Schroder said after the Lakers trailed by as many as 18 and never led against the Suns, per ESPN.
"I think we got to move the ball, we got to play with more pace. On the defensive end, we got to be more scrappy. And, yeah, I mean everybody who is coming on the floor has got to be confident to knock down the shot or to impact the game on the defensive end."
Schroder scored a team-high 22 points for the Lakers against the Suns but it wasn't enough. "Obviously, Dennis Schroder is gonna be the head of the snake with the ball in his hands the most, dictating some of the action," Lakers coach Frank Vogel said after the 27-year-old, acquired in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder during the offseason, had 22 points and three assists on Sunday.
"But we've got a lot of veteran guys on this team that can lead, and we encourage our guys to lead from every chair in the room."
Schroder praises James
"It tells me that he cares about this organization," Schroder said of James joining the team flight just hours after undergoing an MRI and X-rays on his ankle.
"In my career, I've seen people getting hurt and don't come on the road trip, and for him, being the best -- one of the best who ever played this game -- that you see him on the bench being there even if he's hurt, means a lot to me and all the other [players on this team] too."
Coach Vogel revealed that the Lakers are encourahing 36-year-old James to take a short break. "We're encouraging him to take a mental break and recharge a little bit mentally, so that when he comes back we're into a stretch where we can make a playoff push and make some noise obviously going into the playoffs," Vogel said.