The Los Angeles Lakers played the final game of their first extended road trip against the Indiana Pacers. They welcomed back LeBron James from his one-game suspension after his incident on Sunday with Isaiah Stewart. After losing to the New York Knicks the previous night 106-100, Shaquille O’Neal made it clear what is wrong with this Lakers team.
Sure the staff of Lake Show Life has been saying this since the second game of the preseason, but hearing it from one of the top 75 players in NBA history with a resume like Shaq seems to carry more weight.
It was a case of revolving doors for superstars as LeBron was inserted into the starting lineup, Anthony Davis was held out for the first time this season with a fever. No matter the star that was held out, it still didn’t stop the Lake Show’s trend of falling behind in games.
- Against the Detroit Pistons, the Lakers fell behind by 17 points before the combination of Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis and Carmelo Anthony bailed them out.
- Two nights later against the New York Knicks, the Lakers fell behind 10-0 before the lights warmed up and fell behind by as much as 25 points before running out of gas in the fourth quarter.
- In this game, guess what happened? If you guessed the Lakers fell behind by double digits…two points for you. If you guessed that the deficit was 11 points…Gold star for you for paying attention!
The Los Angeles Lakers fell down by 12 points in the second half only to come back to beat the Indiana Pacers in overtime 124-116.
If you don’t like LeBron James or want to discredit his performance in this game…stop reading now and stay out of the comment section.
The good from the Los Angeles Lakers’ win:
At this point in LeBron’s career, he is really showing the NBA world how skilled he is!
Now that LeBron James has made his return from injury, if you are an NBA fan it’s time to truly respect the skillset of this guy. Forget all of that G.O.A.T. talk comparing him to Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant etc., if a fan appreciates the science of basketball and really pays attention, they would notice that what this dude is doing right now is remarkable.
LeBron James is still struggling with that abdominal strain. It’s plain to see that he does not have that explosion to blow by his man one or one or that lift to power his way to the basket. He is relying on his skill set and basketball I.Q. to get through these games and guess what? He is actually thriving during these circumstances.
LeBron played so well that he gets two parts. Stay tuned.
Russell Westbrook is starting to play in more control.
Sure, Russ did not shoot that well from the field (5-15) but he did a much better job of picking his spots and taking advantage of them. He scored much of his points from the free-throw line (Another positive considering he was terrible to start the season!) and looked a lot more confident in the offense with LeBron in the lineup. He realized that LeBron was going nuclear and allowed it to happen. That’s huge because at times this season, Russ would force shots and stop the momentum of hot shooters.
His two free throws late in the fourth quarter was a little more important than what Lakers fans would have liked but 9-11 from the charity stripe is one of the better performances in the last five years for Russ.
He finished with 20 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists.
Wayne Ellington’s jumper was Duke Ellington music!
The Los Angeles Lakers were in trouble in the final quarter before Ellington started cooking from behind the arc. He scored nine straight points on the strength of three straight 3 pointers. It’s getting to the point that Frank Vogel is going to start getting this guy some looks at the basket early because when this guy gets in rhythm he’s a dead-eye shooter.
Ellington scored 14 points on 5-7 shooting including four shots from the land of the extra point.
The bad from the Los Angeles Lakers’ win:
The Los Angeles Lakers can’t stop quick guards at all!
The perimeter defense of this team is terrible. The Pacers guards got plenty of penetration that set up easy baskets in the paint time and time again. The entire first half was just a shoot-around drill for Indiana as Malcolm Brogdon, T.J. McConnell and Caris LeVert consistently broke down their man that forced either DeAndre Jordan or Dwight Howard away from their man to help only for their man to cut to the basket for an easy dunk.
The Los Angeles Lakers need to scrap that zone!
For the same reasons that were mentioned above. See dribble penetration leaves the Lakers in bad positions for the front line. To take this point even further, has anyone won seen the Lakers stop anyone with the 2-3 zone? We’ll wait.
The starting guards scoring total!
The good news is at least Talen Horton-Tucker scored in this game with 8 points (3-10 shooting!), but the bad news is Avery Bradley went scoreless taking only one shot. It’s a good thing that Malik Monk shot well and scored 17 points and Melo got his with 14 or this post-game report would be a whole lot different.
To put this in perspective, Malcolm Brogdon outscored the starters himself by a ton scoring 28.
The story from the Los Angeles Lakers’ win:
Frank Vogel made an adjustment and it won the game!
Lake Show Life has been all over Frank Vogel for his rotation patterns, bad coaching and lack of adjustments. But this site is known to tell it like is and the Lakers do not win this basketball game without Vogel going to the micro-ball and putting LeBron James at center.
Speaking of LeBron…
LeBron James went VINTAGE!
This dude is a major problem when he cares. If he can do this trying to work back into shape from injury, just think about what he can do at 100 percent? After he moved to the center spot, he absolutely embarrassed Myles Turner and Domas Sabonis with the same side-step 3 point shot he’s been doing since he was five years old!
From the fourth quarter on, LeBron scored when he was in the mood and boy was this dude moody!!!! He finished with 39 points (13-29 shooting!), 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks and a steal. The Los Angeles Lakers have a better superstar than the Indiana Pacers and he spent most of overtime showing why by making it rain from the rafters with his 3 point shots.
They call him King James for a reason…Happy Thanksgiving!