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Darvin Ham, for only the second time in eight games, was able to keep LeBron James under 33 minutes of playing time and get his 38-year-old star some rest on Wednesday in Houston.

Only because LeBron sat the entire fourth quarter of a blowout loss at the hands of the rebuilding Rockets.

The Lakers’ 34-point loss was only the latest red flag in a series of them for Los Angeles. It’s just eight games into the season, it’s far too early to write any team off (although Memphis is trying to prove that wrong), but is it time to worry about these Lakers?

Yes.Not panic, but it is definitely time to be concerned. LeBron was asked about the Lakers 3-5 start to the season — where they are 0-5 on the road — and this was his response,

via Dave McMenamin of ESPN:“I don’t have an assessment…. I mean, we can’t build cohesion if we don’t have our unit. It’s that simple. It’s just, we’re very depleted on the injury side.”

The Lakers have been hit hard by injuries, no doubt. Against the Rockets, Anthony Davis was sidelined with what was described as “hip spasms” but he should be back soon, backup center Jaxson Hayes was out with a sprained left ankle, and Jarred Vanderbilt (the team’s best perimeter defender) and rookie Jalen Hood-Schifino have yet to play this season due to injuries.

Yet the concerns are more extensive than that:• The Lakers have a +4.3 net rating when LeBron is on the court and an astonishing -34.6 when he is off.

• As a team the Lakers are shooting 29.6% from 3. • As noted on the ESPN broadcast of the loss to Houston, the Lakers are a -74 in the first quarter through eight games, the worst number through eight in NBA history.

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• The Lakers 106.6 offensive rating so far is 28th in the league. Their defensive rating of 113.8 is 19th in the league.

• The Lakers are 27th in the league in defensive rebounding, allowing opponents to extend possessions and get buckets.

• The Lakers preferred starting five of D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, Taurean Prince, LeBron James and Anthony Davis have a -17.2 net rating so far (

via Cleaning the Glass). • The Lakers are last in the league in offensive rebounding percentage (again via Cleaning the Glass).

That’s a lot of red flags. It’s early and maybe when the Lakers get healthy things look better — the defense should improve once Vanderbilt returns. They miss him. Also, Lakers optimists can point to last season when the Lakers started slow but turned things around after some trade deadline moves and made a run to the Western Conference Finals. Write the Lakers off at your own expense.

However, so far, the promise of depth that would take some of the load off LeBron and Davis has yet to materialize.

In a West where Luka Doncic and Dallas have started fast, Minnesota is 5-2 with wins over Boston and Denver, plus the Thunder and Warriors look sharp early, the Lakers can’t afford to dig themselves a deep hole. Climbing out of it in this balanced West will be difficult. At best.

The Lakers aren’t panicking, but they know there is work to do. Here is what Russell told ESPN’s McMenamin

.“I think we just need to relax and figure out where the root of where we’re going to start trending in the right direction. And I think getting healthy first is one. Two, just playing for one another. I think that’s the first start: having that mentality we’re going to play for each other and just make things easier for each other.”

That sounds good, but the Lakers need to start doing it. Fast.

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