LeBron James’ postseason record speaks for itself, but even he has to admit that losing Game 1 is never a great start to any series.
Such was the case again as James and the Lakers faltered in Game 1 to the Phoenix Suns, 99-90. It was a frustrating game to watch as Los Angeles looked underprepared to handle a young Phoenix squad that was excited to be playing in the franchise’s first playoff game in over a decade.
James had a relatively good game compared to his teammates as he finished the afternoon with 18 points, 10 assists, seven rebounds and three steals in 36 minutes. Even though he was productive on the floor, it was clear that the 36-year-old was intent on allowing the Suns dictate the terms of engagement.
James has always used Game 1s to feel out a series, and often times he’s able to respond as his teams are 12-8 in series’ when they lose the first game. He explained why that is and the work he does to prepare after seeing a team once.
“It gives me more time to dissect a team, know what we did wrong in a previous game. Especially Game 1, it’s always been a feel-out game for me. So I’m looking forward to breaking down the film tonight and then as a team tomorrow and even get some more on the day of the game I believe Tuesday and get ready for that challenge again.”
The superstar’s comments run counter to what he said before the series as he noted the Lakers could not feel out Game 1 against the Suns. Phoenix is the Western Conference’s No. 2 seed for a reason and even though the Lakers are likely right to be favored in the series, they now have an uphill battle to climb.
At this point, it is evident that Los Angeles is at its best when they downsize and go with Anthony Davis at center, but head coach Frank Vogel remained intent on trying to bludgeon Phoenix with their size in the paint. However, that was not the case at all as Davis floated in and out of the game while Andre Drummond got torched defensively.
There are several adjustments James and the Purple and Gold can make ahead of Game 2, but it remains to be seen if it will be enough to quell what looks to be a dangerous Suns team.
James will be ready for Game 2 despite hurting shoulder
There was a point where it looked like James had hurt his shoulder after Chris Paul yanked it down going up for a rebound after a missed free throw. James doesn’t expect it to be a concern moving forward though.
“I’ll be ready for Game 2,” he said.
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