Lakers News: LeBron James Treating Second Straight Road Matchup With Pelicans Like Playoff Series
LeBron James, Zion Williamson, Lakers, Pelicans
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

With a chance to secure the eighth spot in the Western Conference, the Los Angeles Lakers ended their 2023-24 season on a high note with a dominant win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday afternoon.

LeBron James set the tone from the opening tip on both ends of the floor, masterfully controlling the flow of the offense while taking on the assignment of guarding Zion Williamson. James turned back the clock in a high-stakes game, recording a triple-double of 28 points, 17 assists and 11 rebounds to go along with five steals.

New Orleans was ill-prepared to handle Los Angeles’ physicality and James took advantage by bullying his way to the painted area. James generated good looks anytime he got to the rim and the Lakers ran away with the win as a result.

With L.A. set to take on New Orleans again on Tuesday, James admitted it feels like a playoff series when you play two straight road games against the same opponent, via Spectrum SportsNet:

“That’s exactly what it feels like,” James said. “You don’t get too high on one win because you got to come back and play them again. So we played good ball tonight but there’s some things we can be better at and some things we can take from tonight. But at the end of the day, the game on Tuesday is a new game and it’s a new opportunity for us to be better.”

James added that he believes the rematch with the Pelicans will be much more difficult:

“Absolutely. This game is gonna be extremely hard, extremely difficult, extremely physical. I’ve always known that, when you play a playoff series, and I’m looking at this like a two-game playoff series, when you win that first game, a team that has multiple days to kind of sit on that feeling or sit with that taste of defeat in their mouth, they’re gonna be extremely ready for us. We have to come in with the same sense of urgency as we had in the previous games.”

In the postseason, teams use the days off between games to come up with new counters and tactics so James is right that the game on Tuesday will require the same level of urgency and attention to detail.

LeBron James says Lakers will take on any challenge no matter where they’re seeded

For weeks, the Lakers had to watch the standings to see where they could potentially end up. While James understands seeding matters, he is confident in the team’s ability to handle any challenge.

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