Los Angeles Lakers: LeBron James’ genius defense vs. Clippers explained

(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /
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Los Angeles Lakers LeBron James
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

LeBron’s Fist of Doom – Paul George Never Had a Chance!

LeBron James vs Paul George was also an Eastern Conference rivalry moved out west. Coached by Frank Vogel (now the Los Angeles Lakers coach), Paul George and the Indiana Pacers always gave LeBron’s Miami Heat a tough series. LeBron and Paul George directly matched up several times.

Paul George almost always pulls up when he goes left. He has a very upright shooting form. This is good since he can get his jump shot off over just about any defender on the planet.

But any on-ball contact in the right spot would give PG trouble in balancing his foot, hip, and shoulder as he went up for the shot. Basic shooting mechanics dictate those three body parts must be aligned for the ball’s trajectory to go straight.

As soon as PG went left (the official’s view was slightly obstructed), LeBron put his hand on PG’s ribcage. This caused PG’s right hip to end up being unaligned with his foot and shoulder. LeBron expertly released his arm away from PG as he was going up for the shot.

PG compensated to his hip being misaligned by ever-so-slightly tightening his core to take the jump shot. This extra bit of energy caused the shot to hit the back of the rim.

PG softly protested the lack of foul call, but deep down he knew LeBron had him.

LeBron is a defensive genius! Why doesn’t he do this more often?

A locked-in LeBron in playoff mode is scary. It requires an incredible amount of energy and effort to be this engaged on defense. Guarding the top opponent also takes away from his sizable offensive burden.

He is the de facto point guard and the go-to perimeter scorer. Over the course of an 82-game season being the best offensive and defensive player is far too taxing. LeBron is one of the greatest athletes who has ever walked the earth, but he is still 35.

Hence, we only see Galaxy Brain LeBron on special occasions.

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This was one of them.