As the Los Angeles Lakers look to defend their championship, the 2021 team is already making history in this early season.
With their 128-99 demolition of the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Lakers improved to 7-0 away from Staples Center, setting a new franchise record for the best road record to start a season. The previous record of 6-0 was set by the 1985-86 Lakers led by Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and James Worthy.
The current Lakers are the first team to win at least their first seven road games to begin a season since the San Antonio Spurs went 13-0 away from home during the 2016-17 campaign.
The last three victories came on the team’s most recent road trip with each being blowout wins in which the Lakers flexed their muscle on defense. They are allowing fewer than 100 points per game on the road.
“When we defend like that, it gives us an opportunity to get out and do what we do best on the offensive end, and that’s get out and run, get in early transition,” LeBron James said. “And we had a low turnover game. We combine our defense with our execution offensively and our precision, we’re a really good team.”
The Lakers are at their best offensively when they are able to get out in transition and that isn’t possible without getting defensive stops and creating turnovers. After Anthony Davis called out the team for their defensive effort they have been absolutely locked in on that end of the floor and the opposition has paid the price.
The team also seems to just have a different mentality when they hit the road and the current health protocols may have something to do with that. “We just have a bunker mentality,” James began.
“When we go on the road it’s just us. Obviously it’s even more just us, because of the restrictions with COVID and everything that’s going on. We come together even closer. We go on the road we understand it’s going to be challenging and different because we’re not home. We stay in a hotel and things of that nature. It just allows us to zero in even more.”
In general, road games are just not the same without crowds around, but it is an adjustment that every team must make. It’s even more different for the Lakers as, unlike most teams, they often get a boost on the road because of a large contingent their fans that invade road arenas.
LeBron doesn’t have ‘too much of a reaction’ to James Harden trade
While the Lakers made history, they were far from the biggest NBA news as a massive four-team trade took place that saw former MVP James Harden dealt to the Brooklyn Nets. Already considered potentially the Lakers’ biggest championship threat, this move may have put Brooklyn over the top in the eyes of many.
But James was largely indifferent to the blockbuster. “Don’t really have too much of a reaction,” he said. “Obviously trades and things happen every year. For me, my main focus is on what we do here and how we continue to get better.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!