All the chatter after a Game 1 loss seemed to ignite a fire in the Los Angeles Lakers as they trounced the Portland Trail Blazers, 111-88.
For the second straight game, the Lakers put on a defensive clinic but this time around their offense showed up as they hit a franchise playoff record 14 3s. Los Angeles also dominated inside, scoring 52 points in the paint and securing 50 rebounds.
There was cause for concern after their Game 1 performance as the team looked like one that was still going through the motions, a common theme for them in the bubble. Meanwhile, the Trail Blazers came in much hungrier and energized, forcing the Lakers down an early series hole.
As the Lakers were pulling away from the Trail Blazers on Thursday, a video was shown of James sitting on the bench, imploring teammates they were “built different.”
“I really don’t compare us to anybody else in the league. It’s not what everybody else does, it’s not the time everyone has put in, I just know what type of season we’ve had this year,” James explained after the win.
“It’s been three or four seasons in one. It started from training camp to preseason, traveling abroad, to entering the new year, the tragic death of Kobe and those victims on that helicopter, to the stop of the season, to Rondo going down for a big piece of the year, to the restart and not having our brother Avery Bradley here, and so on and so on.
“It feels like it’s been three or four different seasons. I know what we’re capable of, I know how we’re built, and I don’t compare us to anyone. I compare us to us. I direct that to every one of our players, because it’s not about our mindset.”
Head coach Frank Vogel previously echoed James’s words about adversity, a sign that the team is well-equipped to handle anything that comes their way.
With the playoff situation so much more different than what players are used to, those experiences should help L.A. in their pursuit of a championship.
LeBron highlights importance of 3-point shooting
The Lakers’ shooting woes in the bubble may have reached its peak in Game 1 as the team was a dreadful 5-of-32 from beyond the arc.
However, they quickly fixed that in Game 2 as they nailed 14-of-32 attempts in their rout over the Blazers.
“The 3-point shot is a big-time shot in our league,” James said. “The ability to hit shots from the exterior gave A.D. room, gave myself room, gave Alex Caruso room, and Dwight and JaVale room to be able to work in the paint.
“We want to continue to have that, we want our shooters to continue to shoot with no conscious and we want to continue to give them the ball, make or miss.”
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