Can the Los Angeles Lakers make yet another statement against Chicago?
The Los Angeles Lakers are 8-0 on the road this season as they embark on a lengthy business trip across America, with Chicago as their next stop. Tipoff is set for 6PM PST in the hallowed confines of the United Center.
In their last game, in a potential NBA finals preview, LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the Los Angeles Lakers won a statement game against the Milwaukee Bucks in a decisive 113-106 victory. Although AD questioned his own performance, Milwaukee had no answer for LeBron.
Perhaps LeBron was watching the Godfather, his favorite movie, on the long flight from Los Angeles to Milwaukee because not even Vito Corleone was this ruthless when dealing with his enemies. Kindly note LeBron shot a scorching 6-10 from three-point range.
It’s business, not personal.
But for LeBron, what was best for business against Milwaukee was taking things personally. He heard all the chatter surrounding Milwaukee’s new all-star Khris Middleton and took that matchup personally, leading all scorers with 34 points while still managing to dish out 8 assists.
But if LeBron proved to be like Vito Corleone, the opposing team’s best player was more like his hot-tempered son Sonny. Milwaukee’s two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a remarkably efficient 25 points, yet he had 9 turnovers because he tried to force the issue on far too many occasions.
Giannis was too overhyped for the matchup against LeBron and Anthony Davis, which hurt Milwaukee as they were unable to lock in on key possessions during the fourth quarter. What was best for business for Giannis would have been to treat this like any other game.
Again, it is always business, not personal. Business to the Lakers means winning. And to continue their undefeated record while on the road, they must maintain their hot shooting while also playing great defense against the Chicago Bulls.
It is easy to say they just need to maintain that extremely high level of shooting to win games. The Lakers have shot 40% from three-point range so far this season. The narrative that the Lakers can no longer shoot the ball is long outdated.
It is much harder to say the Lakers need to sustain their defense. Opposing teams have shot 33.7% from three-point range this season. Chicago shot 38.5% from behind the arc the last time around, so the Lakers must do a better job defending Chicago’s three-point shooters tonight.