The Los Angeles Lakers are no strangers to any die-hard basketball fan in the country. As a professional team, they are an immensely popular, successful and admired professional franchise in the American sports world. Winning a total of 16 coveted basketball titles from the National Basketball Association (NBA), as well as the Basketball Association of America (BAA), the Lakers are only second in the entire league history after their close rivals the Boston Celtics.
According to the Lakers Schedule, the 2018-2019 season was Los Angeles Lakers’ 71st season (70th season according to the NBA schedule and 59th in Los Angeles). Following the historic signing of basketball superstar LeBron James on July 2018, the franchise harbored great hopes of finishing the season with a record-winning performance for the first time since the 2012-2013 playoff season. With the unfortunate series of player injuries (including the injuries sustained by Lonzo Ball, Rajon Rondo, Brandon Ingram and of course, LeBron James), the franchise experienced a major dip in performance and fell below .500 by the All-Star break.
After playing a successful stint with Cleveland Cavalier, LeBron James signed a four-year contract with the Lakers worth a staggering $154 million. LeBron had led his hometown team to their first-ever championship title in 2016, and later led them to the finals of the NBA championship no less than four times (2007, 2015, 2017 and again in 2018). LeBron James’ joining the Lakers sparked off a brief but intense rivalry between the Celtics and the Lakers, as another Celtics star player Rajon Rondo joined LeBron in Los Angeles.
After a series of disappointments with LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers are now determined to turn the tables and make an impressive comeback this season. After wasting the whole 2018 – 2019 year in initially signing LeBron and then trying to pair him up with another star player, they finally gave up on a continuous hunt for picks and assets in order to bring Anthony Davis on board by acquiring him from the New Orleans Pelicans. LeBron, at last, gets someone skilled and talented enough to team up with, as Anthony Davis is one of the league’s best star players.
As the Lakers Schedule reveals, by March 2019 the Lakers were dismissed from the season’s playoff battle, thus prolonging the league’s postseason drought to a record six seasons – longer than any franchise has ever gone through. Even after witnessing an improvement in their performance in the 2017-2018 campaigns by two games, the Lakers had a straight sixth losing season in 2018-2019. As per the Lakers Schedule, at the conclusion of the Lakers’ season, Magic Johnson resigned from his position as the franchise’s president of basketball operations. Just three days later, Luke Walton also stepped down and parted ways with the team.
Starting the season on October 2018, the Lakers faced Portland Trail Blazers and lost the game with a score of 119-128. Two days later, they contended with the Houston Rockets and lost again with a score of 115-124. The Lakers also lost their third game – played against the San Antonio Spurs. The franchise had their first victory of the season when they won against the Phoenix Suns, scoring 131 while the Phoenix earned 113. They had success with the Denver Nuggets as well (121-114), but lost two subsequent games against the San Antonio Spurs and the Minnesota Timberwolves.
The Lakers had their first triumph against the Portland Blazers on November 2018, when they beat the team by a slight edge (114-110). The Lakers were victorious again with the Dallas Mavericks (a close win of 114-113) but lost the next match against the Toronto Raptors the same month. Overall, there were some entertaining games and some major disappointments for the Lakers. The franchise performed well in its two close games against the World Champions, the Golden State Warriors.
On the other hand, as the Lakers Schedule shows, the franchise made a bunch of spectacular moves including their most prominent trade for Anthony Davis, even when the Lakers missed the playoffs for five consecutive seasons. The Los Angeles Lakers were followed by the whole nation as one of the most popular and prominent teams on the championship. Out of a total of 82 games played by the team, 43 were broadcast live nationwide. That is an addition of seven games from the 36 Lakers games shown on national television last season.
Besides the nationwide televised Lakers schedule, the overall schedule for the NBA remained pretty much the same from the last season. There were little changes to the schedule, if any, and the Lakers proved to be one of the most watched and followed teams in the NBA, even though the team continued to struggle throughout the season.
The Lakers schedule released for the 2018-2019 NBA regular season promised a plethora of interesting games that could not be missed for any reason. The 2018-2019 basketball season was a rollercoaster of emotions, excitement, thrill and intense play that was enacted by the best basketball players on the planet. Some of the must-watch games included the Lakers facing off against the Houston Rockets on Christmas Day. This was the time when two seasoned, top Western Conference contenders met for an intense game that included super talent on both sides such as Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, James Harden, and Chris Paul. Another game which stood out was played between the Lakers and the Trail Blazers on October 18, 2018, when the team debuted against the Portland’s contenders for the first time in NBA history. Although the Lakers eventually lost the playoff, it was nonetheless a good game with some of the best players on both sides.
A franchise which once prided itself on being a formidable contender failed to win a single playoff game since the year 2012. With LeBron James on the team, the Lakers fans had high hopes. Everyone thought that LeBron would be the one to bring the Los Angeles Lakers back to their former greatness, but even he could not work his magic. Due to a groin injury, LeBron had to be called off, and other star players on the team, like Rajon Rondo and Lonzo Ball, shared a similar fate. Hence, as an old Lakers enthusiast, I am still stunned at the outcome of the season. For me, it was not supposed to end like that. At least not since LeBron James joined the Lakers last July.
To make things worse, Magic Johnson’s decision to step down from his position in the franchise just 90 minutes before the game took everyone by surprise. The 2018-2019 NBA regular season rankings showed Los Angeles Lakers to stand at number ten. The Golden State Warriors came out on top, with the Denver Nuggets and Portland Trail Blazers ranked as the first and second runners up. A total of 320 players appeared in action in the 750-minutes long NBA season. By the end of the season, 405 of the original 320 players (129 players in total) were no longer on the teams on which they all ended the season. The silver lining out of this outcome is that out of those 129 players who were dropped by their respective teams, 103 have already found new NBA teams, while 39 of them actually changed conferences.
There has been some consolidation of superstars, like the ones between Durant and Kyrie Irving, Paul George and Leonard, Russell Westbrook and James Harden, and of course, between LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The Golden State Warriors remain favorites in the next season. The Los Angeles Lakers are expected to head into the next NBA season with three star-level players on their team. Yes, of course, LeBron will still be playing with the Lakers and he will reappear as one of the best all-around players in the league despite his advancing age.
Anthony Davis, who earned a gold medal while playing with Team USA at the 2012 Summer Olympics, has recently concluded his tenure with the Pelicans and is all set for a brand new start with the Los Angeles Lakers. He is paired up with LeBron, which means that the duo will be expected to show some splendid performance in the coming mid-summer season. There is also the exciting news that Demarcus Cousins will be joining the Lakers franchise after his year-long stint with the victorious Golden State Warriors.
Cousins was part of the Warriors all this time while trying to recover from his own injury. Cousins could only appear in a total of thirty games with the Golden State Warriors as he was injured quite early in the playoffs. How he performs with the Los Angeles Lakers in the coming season is still to be seen. Despite their poor performance in the NBA season 2018-2019, the Lakers are arguably still one of the best teams in Los Angeles. They have some of the best players, including LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Kyle Kuzma, who can finally steer the team back to its former fame and success in the next season. Fingers crossed!
Lakers Schedule 2018-2019:
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