LeBron James recorded his arguably best playoff performance in a Los Angeles Lakers jersey, leading the team to a 112-102 Game 3 victory over the Houston Rockets. The 17-year veteran ended the night with 36 points, five assists and seven rebounds.
James carried L.A. on his shoulders offensively, scoring 29 points before halftime. But he came out zoned in defensively in the second half and had four blocks in the third quarter.
It proved to be a crucial moment of the game as it allowed the Lakers to stay in the game before sprinting away with a win thanks to a late fourth-quarter run. James has already tallied eight blocks in the Rockets series — three of them on Russell Westbrook, with each of those registered in the second half of Game 2.
“Houston spreads your team out because they have five shooters on the floor at one time and they have so many attackers, so you have to be in help-side position,” James said of his defensive showing. “You can’t be late, or they’ll make you pay for it.”
James’ four blocks in a single quarter marked a first in his career. And although he admitted the feat would not have been possible without his rigorous training regime, the three-time NBA champion thinks his teammates share the credit.
“I just try to take care of my body and also commit to the film, put myself in the right position, understanding plays before they happen sometimes, and try to not be late,” he said. “Like I said, throughout the day, preparing my mind, preparing my body for whatever happens.”
And he added: “My teammates do a good job of staying in front of the ball at times, and if they get beat a little bit, I’m able to protect them.”
James misses out on All-Defensive selection
James has arguably played some of the best defense of his career this season after being paired with Anthony Davis.
But while Davis featured in this season’s All-Defensive First Team, James missed out on the recognition after receiving just one First Team vote and five Second Team votes.
And Lakers head coach Frank Vogel has disagreed with the three-time NBA champion’s omission. “I think what ‘Bron does with quarterbacking us, has really surprised me in the first year as his coach” he said.
“What he’s able to do on the ball but also quarterbacking the action, he deserves recognition.”
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