LeBron James finally had his first playoff game as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, and he made history in the process.
James finished the game with 23 points, 17 rebounds and 16 assists, good for his 24th career playoff triple-double, which is second all-time only to another Lakers legend in Magic Johnson. But this one was made even more special as James became the first player in NBA history with at least 20 points, 15 rebounds and 15 assists in a playoff game.
Unfortunately for James, his performance did not result in a win as the Lakers lost Game 1 of their first-round series to the Portland Trail Blazers 100-93.
“My mindset going into the game is to make plays for my team. More importantly keying in on the keys,” he said. “Our coaching staff gave us a great game plan to go out and execute, and I just try to not make mistakes. I know mistakes happen throughout the course of a game but if I make one, I don’t want to make the same mistake the next possession or next quarter. Just being locked in on the game plan is what it’s all about.
“No frustration, because the game is the game. We came in with a mindset to win, and we didn’t take care of business. But we’ve got another opportunity on Thursday to even the series, and that’s my only mindset. I’m going to go back to the hotel, watch film tonight, lock in with the team tomorrow, and then prepare on Thursday before the game and get ready to play.”
James also became the first player in NBA history to post a triple-double in his postseason debut with two different franchises, also accomplishing the feat with the Cleveland Cavaliers; he is the second Lakers player to do so along with Johnson.
Tuesday was the third time in his career that James started his postseason with a playoff triple-double, which is also the most of all-time.
James’ vision was on full display as he dazzled with some amazing passes to Anthony Davis and the assist numbers would have surely been higher had his teammates been able to knock down outside shots. The Lakers shot a mere 5-of-32 from 3-point range and that played a huge role in their offensive struggles on the night.
Despite that, James still set personal bests in terms of his passing. The 16 total assists set a career playoff best and he also set highs for assists in a half with 10, and in a single quarter with seven in the second period.
LeBron trailing only Johnson on the all-time playoff triple-doubles list is yet another showing of how great the Lakers franchise is as a whole and it doesn’t stop there. Even though they technically didn’t come as members of the Lakers, current assistant coach Jason Kidd is third on the list with 11, while point guard Rajon Rondo is tied for fourth with 10.
Frank Vogel calls James’ performance spectacular
Head coach Frank Vogel was disappointed that the Lakers couldn’t get the victory, and added that James’ assist total could have been even higher.
“He would’ve had over 20 assists if we knocked down threes at the rate that we’re capable of and the rate that we will,” Vogel noted. “It’s certainly disappointing to lose this game, as always. Obviously with the performance he had, he was spectacular.”
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