LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers made their 2019-20 NBA season home opener a successful one as they cruised past the Utah Jazz to earn their first win.
The Lakers clearly made it an effort to clean up their defense after their Opening Night loss to the Los Angeles Clippers as they appeared more focused and prepared to take on a revamped Jazz team. Los Angeles did a great job of guarding the point of attack and making the necessary rotations, forcing plenty of contested shots and turnovers.
James led the way for the purple and gold as he turned in a vintage performance, putting up 32 points, 10 assists, and seven rebounds in 32 minutes of action. The Jazz had no answer for James as he had his way getting to the basket and backing down defenders which eventually opened up the floor for the rest of the offense.
The role players all had solid nights, but Troy Daniels energized Staples Center as he poured in 15 points, including 4-of-8 shooting from the three-point line. The sharpshooter’s ability to space the floor for James made life easier for the All-Star and the offense clicked as a result.
Anthony Davis had another solid outing as he finished with 21 points, seven rebounds, five blocks, and two steals. While Davis has yet to have much success shooting jumpers, he showed why he should be in consideration for the 2019-20 NBA Defensive Player of the Year award as he altered shots at the rim and was able to hang with the Jazz’s perimeter players when switched onto them.
The most important takeaway from the game is that head coach Frank Vogel opened up the second half with Davis at center. The game’s dynamic changed significantly when he manned the paint as he was able to space the floor on offense while also providing rim protection on the other end.
The Lakers still have some issues to work out on the offensive side of the floor as the team struggled to manufacture points without Davis or James in the lineup, but defensive performances like the one against the Jazz are encouraging for their season-long outlook.