The fun and camaraderie the Los Angeles Lakers exhibited throughout the 2019-20 season was palpable as they always seemed to find moments during games to smile and laugh.
That kind of special team chemistry was crucial in the NBA bubble because it helped keep them together during a prolonged stretch away from their homes and families.
The Lakers’ strong bond was an important factor during their championship run and could be a major factor in how the front office approaches roster decisions this offseason. During the NBA Finals, the bench was often seen cheering and yelling from the sidelines in an effort to keep the energy levels up.
It also seems they had some fun at the expense of their opponent as Duncan Robinson recounted a funny story, via The Association:
“During the Finals, the Lakers bench was yelling, ‘Jimmy Neutron’ at me.”
Robinson was a good sport about the situation and did not seem to take offense, and for good reason as L.A.’s bench seemed to use it as a way to stay engaged. Prior to the Finals beginning, Dwight Howard addressed the bench antics and referred to it as a method of staying locked in.
“I think a lot of people on the outside take it as fun, but we take it as a way of staying engaged in the game,” Howard explained.
“My talking to the opponent, watching the different coverages, just in case our names were called, we have an opportunity to go out there and know what we have to do. We just try to keep our energy up, and at the same time, it is fun. But we’re totally locked in.
“I don’t want people to take us having fun and jumping around as we’re not locked in helping this team win a championship. We also understand energy is very important, and if our spirits are down, like they always say, one bad apple can spoil the basket. It’s the same thing. If we’re down on our energy, it can get contagious, it can go to another player.”
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope outlined how he defended Duncan Robinson
Despite the jokes, Robinson was a focus of the Lakers defensive game plan as his 3-point shooting and gravity opened up the floor for the Miami Heat.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was the primary option to slow down Robinson. “Just trying to stay attached to him,” Caldwell-Pope said of his defense.
“Make him uncomfortable when I’m chasing him off the screens. Try to stay as close as possible. You give him an inch or two, he’s raising up and he’s knocking them down. He’s a great shooter.
“But just trying to take him out. Staying close, pressure. Even when he dribbled the ball, just try to pressure him. Give him something that he’s not really used to.”
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