Starting this report in a way no other NBA media outlet will — the Los Angeles Lakers played a must-win game against the New Orleans Pelicans. LeBron James returned to the lineup for the first time since breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s all-time scoring record seven days ago. After the event, LeBron had been sitting out the last three games with ankle soreness.
The last loss in New Orleans makes sense based on the circumstances. The trade deadline was coming up and in hindsight, Russell Westbrook’s benching the final quarter despite playing well showed that maybe he was in discussions in a Kyrie Irving trade (Kyrie did not play that night and was traded the next day!). There was no focus and Pat-Bev getting smoked by Brandon Ingram didn’t help.
The Los Angeles Lakers have a ton of work to do starting next Thursday, but walking into the break with a dominating 120-102 beatdown over a team ahead in the standing helps.
To the casual fans that keep listening to the narrative that they are basically a few games out of the play-in and postseason, ponder this.
The Lakers are losing in the season tiebreaker to most if not all of the teams they are chasing. That means they HAVE to not only win games but beat the teams ahead of them. In layman’s terms, finishing in a tie with some of these teams record-wise won’t help.
LeBron stans count the accolades and bask in his NBA biography. The Lake Show Life staff count wins in the left column, which the team needs.
The good of the Los Angeles Lakers win:
LeBron James returned to the Los Angeles Lakers lineup!
It’s fascinating how LeBron James fans come to this man’s defense no matter what the criticism is. Is LeBron James injured? Yes, absolutely. Besides the fact that every NBA player that carries consistent minutes is injured at this point, think about the workload that this man had to endure while Anthony Davis was out. This website celebrated his achievements during that 15-20 game stretch. If not for his production, the Lake Show Life staff would be scouting for the NBA Draft.
With the LeBron stans complaining about him needing much-needed rest over the last three games, the Lakers are in trouble of missing the postseason…again. The Blazers game was a disaster and this game probably is the easiest before the Lakers embark on the toughest remaining schedule in the NBA.
LeBron doesn’t have to do everything anymore. Allow the additions to do something and allow your presence on the floor to give them extra room to get ready for a playoff run. Relax LeBron James fans. We talk basketball here.
LeBron might have had his easiest 21-point, 6-rebound, 6-assist stat line of his career. See LeBron James doesn’t have to score 40 points a night for the Lakers to win.
The Los Angeles Lakers played an outstanding first quarter.
If the Los Angeles Lakers can play like they did the first 12 minutes of the game, they’ll moonwalk into the playoffs, forget the play-in. They performed surgery without even euthanizing the New Orleans practically carving up the defense.
Here’s the highlights of the quarter. This is almost perfection…
- Anthony Davis: 9 points
- D’Angelo Russell: 8 points
- Malik Beasley: 5 points
- The Lakers shot 67 percent from the field, knocked down five of ten shots from the great beyond and had 13 assists off 14 made baskets. They also were perfect in the paint.
LeBron James scored two points in the same span. Now the previous headline makes perfect sense. If a team has a player that is an all-time great, he makes the other players better by creating space.
Basketball can be simple sometimes huh?
Let’s all welcome back the “December” version of Anthony Davis!
Remember a couple of months ago when AD was killing the NBA on both sides of the ball before he got injured? Well, he was back handing out business cards to the Pelicans in this one. He finished with 28 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 blocks. He dominated the game with efficient scoring and just was using the ball as Windex on the defensive end.
Anyone remember plays like this in the last matchup? No. Ingram did not have nearly the impact he had in the Big Easy. The combination of long arms throughout this roster means the Lakers have the defensive tools to make a run. Now that Mo Bamba is in the fold, AD can move to power forward. He should be happy now right?
The bad of the Los Angeles Lakers win:
Clean up the free throws a little bit, but other than that…the Los Angeles Lakers walk into the all-star break with a win. Does anything else matter at this point?
The story of the Los Angeles Lakers win:
D’Angelo Russell brings a dynamic that Russell Westbrook just did not have and it was never coming.
This is not a shot at Russell Westbrook because if he joins the Clippers and explodes, this Lakers team might get exposed. This is about D’Angelo Russell. He finished with 21 points and 7 assists. But after watching this play right here, anyone can understand why the trade was made in theory…
The Pelicans had shrunk the lead to two points in the third quarter and then this dude went to work. D’Lo scored 10 points in the third quarter capped off by a pull-up 27-footer on the break that ended the Pelicans’ chances.
The difference now is that opponents CAN NOT lay off this guy. He can shoot and more importantly WILL SHOOT! His offensive game opened everything else up in the paint. The Pelicans had no answer for AD down low and D’Angelo punished them from the perimeter.
Russell Westbrook will likely be bought out after being traded by the Los Angeles Lakers. Here are the most likely suitors for the former MVP.
Remember that shot right there fans because it is the start of the D’Angelo Russell era.