The Los Angeles Lakers have been looking to find their rhythm and groove in the Walt Disney World bubble as they have looked out of sorts on both ends through much of their seeding games thus far.
After an impressive win against the Utah Jazz, the Lakers have dropped three games in a row due to some incredibly poor shooting performances. While head coach Frank Vogel is optimistic that the percentages will bounce back, it is still a cause of concern with the playoffs less than two weeks away.
One of the factors that may be contributing to L.A.’s poor stretch is the absence of the crowd and overall setting with games. The Lakers boast one of the most rabid and dedicated fan bases in the league and often feed off of their energy both at home and on the road.
“I think I’m just getting more and more comfortable playing in an empty gym and also the backdrop here is a lot different from playing in a high school gym or college arena, when you’re playing in the summer time or whatever the case may be,” LeBron James said.
“It’s very dark and you can hear a feather hit the ground. I think I’m just getting more and more comfortable personally with my game, playing here in the bubble. Whoever is on the floor, I just try to read and react, make myself available offensively; looking for my shot but always looking for my passes, my teammates, and just playing the game the right way.”
As far as shooting goes, James added he is starting to get his conditioning at its necessary level and with that will come all-around improvement. “My rhythm is getting better and better. I feel my legs are continuing to get underneath me,” he said.
“My shot is starting to feel a lot better, my touch around the rim — even though [Saturday] I still had a couple that I’m so accustomed to making. Finishing with contact, getting into the paint, making passes on time and on target. My ball handling, I’ve done a great job of not turning the ball over for as much as I’ve been initiating the offense. Those are all positive things not only for myself but our team. Just got to continue to work at it.”
Unlike the other teams in the bubble, the Lakers have yet to find much success on the offensive end despite generating the shots they want. Prior to the hiatus, they had one on of the most potent offenses in the league and they will need to get back to that level of scoring success if they want to get through the postseason.
LeBron says players need to ‘love’ basketball to play in bubble
So far, it is safe to say that the bubble experiment has been a success as there have been no new positive coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in the past several weeks, while nearly each game has been thrilling to watch.
Even without the crowds, the games have appeared normal from a viewing standpoint and the players themselves seem to be adjusting. While James himself seems to be getting used to the new playing circumstances, he said that everyone in Orlando needs to be passionate about basketball if they want to succeed.
“You have to really love basketball to be here, because there’s no extra motivation you get or excitement from the crowd,” James said. “You have to really love the game and love to work to be able to lock in on your craft. It’s something I actually love. It’s pretty cool.”
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