The Los Angeles Lakers finally broke out of their slump as they went into Moda Center and defeated the Portland Trail Blazers to earn their 25th win of the 2019-20 NBA season.
James discussed how the Lakers were able to pull off the win and end their four-game losing streak, via Spectrum SportsNet:
“We just wanted to play well. We know this is a tough building to play in, so it’s gonna start with our defense, but also our offensive pace and that’s moving the ball, sharing the ball and just play the right way win, lose, or draw and we did that tonight.”
The 34-year-old also discussed ball movement and how hitting shots is the difference in how it can be viewed:
“Listen, it’s always easy to say that when you make shots. We had some great looks on Christmas Day, we didn’t make ’em. We make some of those… in the last five minutes of the game we shot 0-of-7 from the three-point line and on Christmas Day so if you make half of those, then you’re talking about, ‘Okay, well we shared the ball.’ You just try to put the ball on time and on target to the shooters, to the rollers, to the bigs and then you just trust they’re going to make the right play.”
Los Angeles managed to record 32 assists against Portland with James accounting for half of them as he had little to no issues finding his teammates whenever the Blazers decided to double him. He was especially potent in the post, whipping passes to shooters along the perimeter and finding the bigs underneath the basket for dunks.
While 16 assists ties James’ season-high so far, it does emphasize the playmaking burden he has to handle on a nightly basis as he and Rajon Rondo are the only two players on the roster who are comfortable bringing the basketball up and getting the team into the offense. This problem has reared its head against teams who do a good job of forcing the ball out of their hands and making someone else create plays.
Either way, the purple and gold still were able to come out with a win but have a much tougher test when they return home to play a Dallas Mavericks team that has already gotten the best of them and could be poised to do so again if they are not sharp.