The Lakers recorded a third successive loss on Tuesday night, as the Mavericks sealed a comfortable 128-110 win.
LeBron James missed the game due to an ankle sprain, while Anthony Davis was also out of action.
That left Russell Westbrook needing to channel his 2017 MVP form for the Lakers to even have a chance of making this a close game, but the problem is, five years is a long time ago, especially for a player who relies on every bit of his speed, athleticism, and explosion to dominate the flow of the game.
To be fair, Westbrook put up a solid 25 points on 9-of-17 shooting to go along with eight rebounds and six assists, but in years gone by, he'd easily eclipse 40 points and still put up double digits in assists and rebounds on a nightly basis. This is a guy that has averaged a triple-double in multiple seasons.
Malik Monk also stepped up in the absence of LeBron, as he poured in 28 points on 10-of-16 shooting.
All in all, though, the defeat proved that the Lakers roster is nowhere near good enough outside of LeBron and AD. In recent years, LeBron has been able to mask all the team's problems with his immense talent. He took a fairly bad Cleveland Cavaliers team to the finals in each of his two stints there.
But now, age has just caught up to essentially every player on team. A roster with LeBron, AD, Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, and Trevor Ariza would wreak havoc if the year was 2014, but unfortunately, the clock stops for no one.
Does this damage LeBron's legacy?
Because of LeBron's constant comparisons to Michael Jordan, many will view this season as a stain on LeBron's legacy.
However, this season shouldn't be a stain on anything. LeBron is still putting up MVP worthy numbers at the age of 37. But it has had an impact on the number of minutes he can play, especially in such a poorly constructed roster. It's not like MJ made the Washington Wizards a championship-contending team in his two seasons there.
This is still a guy who went to the finals for eight consecutive years, beating the team with the best record in NBA history in one of those appearances. For those unaware, he and the Cavs took down the 73-9 Golden State Warriors in 2016.
While it's unfortunate that we may not see LeBron in this year's playoffs, this season shouldn't impact the way LeBron is spoken about in the years to come.
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