The Los Angeles Lakers are expected to turn to their Black Mamba City Edition uniforms for the second time during the 2020 NBA Playoffs in Game 2 against the Houston Rockets on Sunday night.
After a blowout Game 1 loss, the Lakers are hoping the widely beloved jerseys will provide the same spark that they did in the first round against the Portland Trail Blazers.
L.A. wore the Black Mamba jerseys for the first time since the tragic death of Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant and seven others took place in January. Wearing it on Mamba Day — Aug. 24 — the Lakers stomped the Trail Blazers in a 135-115 rout.
LeBron James had his best performance of the Playoffs so far in Game 4 of the first round series, putting up 30 points, 6 rebounds and 10 assists on 10-of-12 shooting from the field. James spoke after the game about what Bryant’s Mamba Mentality meant to him.
“To be able to continue his legacy is something that hits home for me and is easy for me because I put in the work,” James said.
“If you want to see results, you’ve got to work at it. It’s not about the wins or the losses. A lot of people want to see results but a lot of people don’t want to put in the work. He wasn’t one of those guys and I’m not one of those guys.”
L.A. will need the same type of energy in whqt could be a must-win game very early on in the Western Conference Semifinals. After a poor showing in a 112-97 loss, the Lakers must do whatever they can to avoid dropping to a 2-0 against a hungry Rockets team.
Perhaps the jersey — as well as the loss on Friday — will encourage the Lakers to give their absolute best effort. Similar to the way Game 2 against the Trail Blazers was a remarkable bounce back, the second game against the Rockets is an opportunity to put their best foot forward.
Frank Vogel believes the Lakers must be better regardless of lineups
After some criticism over the lineup choices in Game 1 began circulating, Lakers coach Frank Vogel talked about the improvements that must be made regardless of who’s on the floor.
“We’ve got to be better in a lot of things that we do. We definitely could’ve played better and in more rhythm, and there are some things we can do differently as well,” he said. We’ll look at the tape, we’ll see what approach we’re going to have for Game 2 and we’ll go from there.
“I’m not going to tip my hand about Game 2. Like I said, we’ll go to the tape, we’ll look at a lot of different ways we can go, but it starts with just being better with what we did. We were too careless throwing the ball all over the court, our turnovers and taking quick shots.
“Got to be more patient, and if we do that we’ll get our defense set and be in business. It’s not necessarily about being big or small. It’s what you’re doing on the court.”
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