LeBron James Pleased With Lakers’ Versatility & Ability To Still Be Productive When Not Shooting Well
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Arguably the biggest Achilles heel for the Los Angeles Lakers all season long has been their outside shooting. The Lakers rank at or near the bottom of the league in practically every 3-point shooting category and despite the improvements made at the trade deadline, it would still be a stretch to consider shooting a strength for this team.

These struggles showed themselves once again on Sunday in Dallas as the Lakers made just 6-of-34 from 3-point range while the Mavericks were on fire early and built a 27-point lead. But the frontcourt of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Jarred Vanderbilt led the charge as the Lakers fought all the way back to come away with a three-point win.

Despite never getting it going from the outside, the Lakers were able to find ways to be effective offensively, and James spoke about the importance of that ability after the contest, via Spectrum SportsNet:

“I think the game will dictate what we need to do. Tonight offensively from the exterior we were not shooting the ball extremely well so we have the ability to now look at ways we can be good. If we can’t shoot it well, we need to still get the ball poppin’, but we need to drive those closeouts. We need to get the ball in the paint, we need to get offensive rebounds when we’re not shooting well. To be able to have that ability to be able to say ‘ok if we’re not shooting well we can still be in the game, we can still be productive,’ that’s a key for our ballclub.”

After an excellent shooting night against the Golden State Warriors, the Lakers couldn’t get anything to drop, but as LeBron noted, they found other ways to thrive. The Lakers grabbed 17 offensive rebounds, with eight of those coming from Vanderbilt and outscored Dallas by 30 in the paint. They also forced 16 Mavericks turnovers and finished with 24 fastbreak points.

The Lakers are likely always going to be hit or miss when it comes to 3-point shooting, but the fact that they can still get wins when they’re off from deep is a huge step in the right direction for this team.

LeBron James admits ankle is ‘a little sore’ after Mavericks game

Unfortunately, despite another impressive win, there was yet another injury scare for the Lakers. In the third quarter, James awkwardly turned his ankle on a drive and stayed on the ground for some time, but ultimately remained in the contest and finished the game.

Afterward, in an ESPN interview, LeBron admitted that the ankle was ‘a little sore’ but never even considered the possibility of leaving the game. Every game matters for the Lakers in this stretch and the leader of the team refused to be taken off the court.

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