The Los Angeles Lakers’ three biggest challenges in the Orlando bubble

(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) – Los Angeles Lakers
(Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) – Los Angeles Lakers /

1. Maintaining the momentum

The Los Angeles Lakers were riding high right before the break in the season. They had just recorded two of their biggest triumphs of the year. The team avenged previous losses to two of the NBA’s top teams, the Bucks and Clippers, by defeating them in back-to-back games.

The team’s two big stars, LeBron James and Anthony Davis, were each having sensational seasons. LBJ was averaging 25.7 points, 7.9 rebounds and a career-high, league-leading 10.6 assists. AD was scoring 26.7 points while grabbing 9.4 rebounds and blocking 2.4 shots and was a strong contender for Defensive Player of the Year.

The two formed the finest duo in the NBA. Individually, without a doubt, they each ranked among the league’s top 10 players. It could easily be argued that they were both among the top 5.

The supporting cast of the Lakers had filled their roles admirably. Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee had split 36 minutes at center, collectively averaging 14 points, 13 rebounds and nearly 3 blocks a game.

Although Kyle Kuzma hadn’t stepped forward as much as hoped, he was still third in scoring on the team with 12.5 PPG.  Avery Bradley, Danny Green, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alex Caruso and Rajon Rondo provided excellent depth in the backcourt and at small forward.

The Lakers are the only club in the league to rank in the top 5 on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court. Additionally, team chemistry was outstanding. Teammates were favorably aligned with each other, the coaching staff and the front office.

The great unknown is how the 4 ½ month break will impact the Lakers’ momentum. The long rest should certainly help players like Davis, James and Kuzma recover from minor injuries. However, stars on other teams will likewise benefit. The big question is: Will the Lakers be able to hit the ground running and be ready to perform at the same high level once the playoffs begin?

They’ll have to do it without Bradley, who is sitting out the rest of the season for personal reasons. His defensive intensity and three-point shooting will be missed. Will any other player be able to step up in his place?