Since the second half of the 2020-21 season tipped off, the Los Angeles Lakers have played with the energy and tenacity they visibly lacked in weeks leading up to the All-Star break.
L.A. extended their post-All-Star winning streak to four games after beating the Charlotte Hornets, 116-105, on Thursday night. The Lakers jumped right back into the battle for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference moving up to just 1.5 games behind the currently first-placed Utah Jazz.
Head coach Frank Vogel acknowledged his team was looking forward to a few extra days of rest during the mid-season intermission. And he said after the victory over Charlotte that the break did have a refreshing effect on the Lakers. “It was definitely needed,” Vogel said. “We didn’t want to talk about it at the time, but it was clear our guys sort of hit a wall.
“After the short offseason, we came out of the gates strong, suffered some injuries, and then that stretch before the break it was pretty clear that our guys were a little bit fatigued. Shots were short. Their minds were a little bit fatigued, but we’ve come out of the gates.”
Vogel emphasized James’ role in revitalizing the Lakers, bringing up his call to action before the games resumed last week. “I think Bron set a great tone for us by saying ‘It’s go time’ post-All-Star break,” he said.
“Our guys have really responded. Really good play against some good teams to lead to this four-game win streak.”
Jeanie Buss discusses James’ potential retirement
James has been in an extraordinary form during his 18th year in the NBA tossing his hat into the ring in this year’s MVP race. But even though the 36-year-old forward has been defying his age this long, he’s inevitably approaching the end of his illustrious career.
Lakers controlling owner Jeanie Buss recently said James had hinted he probably doesn’t have enough gas in the tank to play for another decade. But she added that whatever the four-time NBA champion’s plans are, the franchise wants him to stay for as long as he wants.
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