Lakers News: LeBron James Explains Biggest Difference In Playoff Basketball
LeBron James, Lakers
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

No player in the history of the NBA has played in more playoff games or logged more minutes in the postseason than LeBron James and it isn’t even close. The Los Angeles Lakers superstar has 23 more games and nearly 2,000 more playoff minutes than anyone else and now he is set to increase that gap as the Lakers are set to take on the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the 2024 NBA Playoffs.

It has been said by everyone who has been in postseason wars that playoff basketball is different from the regular season. The lights are brighter, the pressure is greater and some players just aren’t capable of stepping up to that level while others shine even more.

There is no one more qualified to talk about the difference between regular season and playoff basketball than James and the Lakers star broke down the biggest difference in his eyes, on the latest episode of his Mind the Game podcast with JJ Redick:

“One possession can lose you the series. And compared to the regular season, you can get away with some slippage. You can get away, it’s four [games] in five nights, you’re f***in’ tired, it’s a cold ass Tuesday night in Milwaukee […] In the postseason, one bad stretch, it can be a f***in’ 6-0 run, it can be a turnover here, it can be, ‘You didn’t top lock JJ when we told you we’re top locking him all series and now he done seen one go in.’

“There’s times where you can win a playoff game and because the way you finished the game, you already lost the second one. You done let that f***in’ guy or that person get into a rhythm in the fourth quarter because you decided you didn’t wanna lock in for eight to nine more minutes, and yes we won the game, but now we may lose the war.”

Simply put, in the playoffs everything matters and one mistake can lead to something else happening and suddenly, the season is over. LeBron understands this and even admitted that his body language during the season can look very bad because he is thinking about what certain things could mean if it were a playoff game:

“That’s why my body language is so bad throughout the regular season, because I’m trying to gear them up for the postseason. Some guys don’t understand like, one play can be the difference between your ass going home and going to Cabo or Cancun or wherever the hell you’re going, or going to Disney World with the trophy in your hand.”

The ultimate goal for LeBron and the Lakers remains to hoist that Larry O’Brien Trophy up at the end of the season, but that will not be an easy task. First up is the defending champion Nuggets in a rematch of last year’s Western Conference Finals, but if LeBron can lead the Lakers past them, they very well could go on another deep playoff run.

LeBron James: Lakers are mostly healthy and have figured out rotations going into playoffs

One of the most important things for the Lakers this season has been their overall health and locking in lineups and rotations. And LeBron James believes that is the case heading into the playoffs.

Following the Lakers Play-In victory in New Orleans, James noted that the Lakers are as close to healthy as they have been all year, missing only Jarred Vanderbilt. LeBron added that the Lakers have a good lineups and rotations going as well, hence why they are playing so well as of late.

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