LeBron James feels the Los Angeles Lakers are finding their rhythm without Anthony Davis after a comfortable 117-91 win over the Golden State Warriors on Sunday.
Davis is averaging 22.5 points, three assists and 8.4 rebounds this season, as well as 1.8 blocks, 1.3 steals and two turnovers per game.
However, he has been absent since sustaining a calf injury on February 14 and the Lakers had lost five of six without Davis prior to winning their past two.
Against the Warriors, six Lakers players reached double figures, with James putting up 19 and able to play a season-low 24 minutes such was their dominance.
"When you lose a mega piece like AD, it's going to take some time offensively and defensively how we want to play, what's going to be our rhythm," James said after his 1,300th regular-season game.
"The last couple of games we've done a good job of trying to say, 'This is where we're going to have the ball, this is where we'll be effective, this is where we need to run'. Guys are just staying ready."
This season the Lakers are trying to repeat the championship success they enjoyed in the disrupted 2019-20 campaign.
Opposition coach Steve Kerr knows a thing or two about repeats, having won three straight with the Chicago Bulls as a player – he individually won four in a row having then joined the San Antonio Spurs – while the Warriors won three in four seasons, including going back-to-back in 2017 and 2018.
Kerr suggested the unusual circumstances caused by the coronavirus pandemic meant this season might be the toughest ever to try to complete a repeat – a notion James felt might have some merit.
"It's been extremely tough, you literally have to self-motivate yourself every single day," he added.
"We're playing every other day, if not back-to-backs, there's not much down time so you have to motivate yourself.
"Us and Sac [the Sacramento Kings] and the Clips [the Los Angeles Clippers] and Golden State, we don't have the luxury of having fans right now.
"I've been watching a lot of games of late, and there's been 1,500, 2,000 fans, whatever the case may be, and it gives you an extra boost.
"I'm just waiting, hopefully sooner rather than later we can have fans here in California, especially here at Staples.
"It's very challenging, got to have the self-discipline, self-motivation and have trust in your team-mates to know you'll get the energy."
The Lakers are second in the West following their win and now have a 24-11 record for the season.