After the Los Angeles Lakers first playoff game since 2013 wound up as a bad loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, Anthony Davis, LeBron James, and Danny Green had plenty to say.
Struggles from 3-point range, poor shooting altogether, and a lack of fans to help fuel momentum could all be reasons for what transpired in a return to the postseason that fell flat.
However, even with the Lakers shooting 15.6% from three and a not so great 35.1% from the field, they still had their chances to win. With 7:21 to go, L.A. led 87-81, and allowed the Trail Blazers to go on a 19-6 run from that point on.
Davis, when asked about the atmosphere without home-court advantage, made no excuses. “Everything we did to lose the game was on us, self-inflicted,” Davis said. “It’s a little different, especially in he playoffs, when you’re on a run or anything like that, it gets the crowd into it and gets you going, puts a little pressure on the opposing team. We knew coming in it’s not going to be that. Our bench is trying to make up for the crowd.”
James, as he has indicated many times, may still not be used to the bubble. “Like I continue to say, this is different. This is different in the aspect I’m in a bubble with no fans,” he reiterated.
“But as far as me being locked in on the game plan, that doesn’t change. Not one bit. Me going out and making plays, playing at a high level to try and help our team win, that was the same. Nothing changes from that. It’s the same me.”
Green echoed Davis’ sentiments about the Lakers poor play. “We’re not making any excuses. It’s hard every night, regardless of who you’re playing. That just goes to show you any given night you can lose to anybody. No matter what seed you are, no matter how good you are,” he said.
“If a team is playing well and shooting the ball well, and you’re not, they have a better chance of winning that ballgame. Unfortunately that wasn’t really the case for us.”
After these words, and especially Green and Davis’, there should be no reason why the Lakers don’t come out in game two looking like a different team.
As for James, adjusting to the bubble seems to be one of the more difficult challenges of his career. However, if he can’t figure it out quickly, the Lakers may be heading home in the first round.
LeBron still finding legs, rhythm in NBA bubble
James has not played a basketball game in an empty arena since before high school, as he was already one of the most talked about players in the world by 15. Because of this, the bubble is unlike anything he’s experienced.
“I think I’m just getting more and more comfortable playing in an empty gym and also the backdrop here is a lot different from playing in a high school gym or college arena, when you’re playing in the summer time or whatever the case may be,” he recently explained.
“It’s very dark and you can hear a feather hit the ground. I think I’m just getting more and more comfortable personally with my game, playing here in the bubble. Whoever is on the floor, I just try to read and react, make myself available offensively; looking for my shot but always looking for my passes, my teammates, and just playing the game the right way.”
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