Lakers News: LeBron James Believes Health Has Led To Consistency In Second Half Of Season
LeBron James, Lakers
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers have once again turned around their season in the final months, mirroring the events of the 2022-23 season after the trade deadline. However, while this season’s turnaround has involved less movement in the standings, it has arguably produced more confidence from LeBron James and company that this team is capable of making a postseason run.

Since Feb. 9, the Lakers are 17-7 including two wins over the Milwaukee Bucks — one without LeBron James — as well as wins over the L.A. Clippers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Oklahoma City Thunder, all of whom are top seeds in the Western Conference. They have won eight of their last nine games and have brought themselves within a half-game of the Sacramento Kings for the No. 8 seed and 1.5 games of the Phoenix Suns for the No. 6 seed.

It has all gone right for the Lakers, and while that could be contributed to better play across the board from players like D’Angelo Russell and Austin Reaves, James’ explanation is much more simple, via Spectrum SportsNet:

“I think health has helped a lot. We’ve started to get healthier. I told you guys early on when we were struggling, it’s hard to have any chemistry, any camaraderie on the floor when you’re changing lineups and guys are in and out of lineups, guys are hurt, guys are in, different starting lineup, different rotations. The best thing lately is we’ve had pretty much the same starting lineup unless I’ve been out of a game or whatever, AD took off the Memphis game, but for the most part, it’s been DLo, AR, myself, Rui and AD. We’ve had that group and then we know when guys are coming in. We know when Spence is coming in, he’s usually grabbing DLo at a certain point or AR, we know Jaxson is coming in at the start of the second to get AD, TP or Max is coming to get me at a certain point. That helps because you get a good rhythm, you get a good chemistry with who you know you’re gonna be playing with. You know what you want to get into and run defensively and offensively, so I think that has a lot to do with our success.”

The Lakers have built out a relatively consistent rotation over the last two months, and have only re-integrated players instead of losing them. While it would have been ideal for Jarred Vanderbilt, Cam Reddish and Gabe Vincent to be a part of that meshing, having the same players available night in and night out quickly helped L.A. develop chemistry.

As James says, he knows exactly who is going to be where and at what time, from Russell and Reaves to Spencer Dinwiddie to Jaxson Hayes. That alone can be a huge factor in helping guide a turnaround midseason.

Rui Hachimura: it’s easy playing next to LeBron James

Nearly everyone on the Lakers has been playing their best basketball of the season in recent weeks, but this is especially true of Rui Hachimura since his move into the starting lineup. He believes his success can be chalked up to the easy opportunities he gets playing alongside James and Anthony Davis.

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