Los Angeles Lakers: 3 Reasons why they can reach 65 wins this season

(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Lakers
(Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images) /

3. Their role players are stepping up

Earlier in the season, it looked like the Lakers’ bench, as well as their backcourt, were both a weak spot. But as of late, three players have been upping their play, especially on the offensive end.

Rajon Rondo has been a guy that Lakers fans have been complaining about for a long time. Those complaints have hit a crescendo this season, as he’s often seemed like a shell of his former self. Once a great defender, he can’t really guard the Statue of Liberty at this point of his career, and he’s been guilty of over-dribbling and slowing down the pace.

But Rondo has been playing better of late. In his last 13 games he’s averaged 7.6 points and 4.9 assists a game in 19.5 minutes while shooting 48.8 percent from the field. Against the Boston Celtics on Sunday, Feb. 22, he only had four points on 1-of-2 shooting from the field, but he made his presence known with five assists, five steals and no turnovers.

Rondo continuing to play like this will be a huge help ever since the Lakers failed to coax point guard Darren Collison out of retirement.

Not that long ago, I wrote an article on how Alex Caruso has been a disappointment relative to how he played late last season. I’m really glad to say I may have been wrong about that. Since Dec. 1, he’s gradually played better, as he has shot 43.9 percent from the field and 40.3 percent from 3-point land since then.

It’s too early to say that we can expect Caruso to consistently hit shots the rest of the season, especially during the pressure of the playoffs, but his improved offensive play has been a welcome development.

In November and December, Avery Bradley was looking like a big disappointment. He was not hitting his shot and looked passive on offense. But since Jan. 1 he’s averaged 9.3 points on 49.1 percent shooting and a blistering 46.7 percentage from downtown.

Bradley won’t get the shots or minutes to score as many points as he has in the past, but considering all that, it looks like he’s back to the form he showed in Boston not that long ago.