Dennis Schroder: LeBron James’ Defensive Effort Inspires Lakers
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Throughout this season, the Los Angeles Lakers have continually stressed that defense is where they have to thrive in order to be successful. Much of the focus goes on the likes of Anthony Davis, Jarred Vanderbilt and Dennis Schroder, but it is still LeBron James who sets the tone for the Lakers overall.

In his 20th NBA season, LeBron simply can’t do what he used to do a few years ago all the time, but in spurts, he still has moments where he looks 10 years younger than he is. One such play occurred in the third quarter of the Lakers’ Game 3 win over the Golden State Warriors.

After a turnover, the Warriors were looking to get an easy bucket but James sprinted forward to knock Stephen Curry’s pass to Andrew Wiggins out of bounds before leaping over the front row and running deep into the stands to slow his momentum. And it is those type of plays that Schroder believes inspires the rest of the team.

“On the defensive end, that’s where we got to put our hat on. Making hustle plays like that. Putting everything on the line,” Schroder said after the Lakers’ blowout win. “Seeing him after the game really don’t have no energy no more, that’s what we need from him. For our ballclub it means a lot. I think everybody in here knows we got to do the same thing that Bron does and match it. It’s just great to see.”

When 38-year-old James is giving all-out effort like that, none of the younger players have any excuse not to do the same. LeBron finished with an efficient 21 points, eight rebounds and eight assists on the night, but it was that play that signified what the Lakers are all about and what needs to be done in order to defeat the defending champion Warriors.

With a chance to take a 3-1 lead on Monday night, the Lakers will again need to rely on their defense to keep the opposition in check. It is easier said than done against Golden State, but the Lakers have shown they have the pieces to keep up and as long as James and Anthony Davis continue to set the tone, the rest of the team will follow.

LeBron James advises younger Lakers to stay off social media during postseason

For many of the members of the Lakers, this is the longest postseason run they have ever been in. James and Davis are champions and Schroder has made deep runs, but the rest of the rotation is in uncharted territory. LeBron knows the pressure cooker that the playoffs put players in and he had some sage advice for his teammates.

“I think just for the young guys that haven’t been a part of the postseason or don’t have much experience in the postseason, just stay off the TV and stay off of social media,” LeBron said on his advice to his younger teammates. “You win a game, everybody is the greatest player in the world. You lose a game, they’re throwing dirt on you. It’s literally that simple.”

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