The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 4, which carried added meaning as it came on Kobe Bryant Day, honoring the memory of the late legend on an emotional night. Following the game, LeBron James expressed Bryant’s spirit was with the team as L.A. was putting on their best performance in the Orlando bubble to date.
Before the gap between the Lakers and the Blazers widened to as many as 30 points, L.A. held a symbolic 24-8 lead over Portland late in the first quarter. That was the moment when James felt Bryant’s presence in the building.
The Lakers undeniably made a statement in Game 4, channeling their inner Mamba Mentality to claim their third straight win of the series. And when asked what Bryant’s fabled mantra meant to him, James explained it comes down to an impeccable work ethic — something the Lakers legend and him had in common.
“To be able to continue his legacy is something that hits home for me and is easy for me because I put in the work,” he said. “If you want to see results, you’ve got to work at it. It’s not about the wins or the losses. A lot of people want to see results but a lot of people don’t want to put in the work. He wasn’t one of those guys and I’m not one of those guys.”
In addition to identifying with Bryant in that regard, James is humbled by playing for the same Lakers organization. “It’s been an honor to just put on a Laker uniform, even before the passing of the great Kobe Bryant,” he said.
“Tonight was another one of those moments for myself, this organization, and all the players that were able to wear the uniforms that were inspired by him, his mind, and creativity.”
Lakers sought revenge on Portland in Game 4
Not only did the Lakers want to be their best selves on Kobe Bryant Day, just as the five-time NBA champion would want them to, they hoped to avenge a January loss to the the Trail Blazers that came in their first game after the tragic accident.
“We lost that game, and I think our guys probably carried a little more importance from that,” Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said.
Anthony Davis added: “We were able to win this on a very emotional and special night for us, wearing the Kobe jerseys. Realizing that the first time we played after the tragedy, it was also against Portland and they were able to take that one from us at home.”
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