The Los Angeles Lakers are coming off their most difficult weekend of the 2019-20 NBA season, taking on both the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Clippers.
However, with LeBron James‘ leadership and stellar defense, the Lakers managed to win both games by a combined 19 points. James sealed the Clippers game by targeting Lou Williams and Patrick Beverley on pick-and-roll switches, scoring 12 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter.
This offensive strategy was pure genius by James. He would make sure either Beverly or Williams switched onto him, then he’d drive to the basket. If no help came, it was a free layup and possibly a foul. If help did come, somebody would be wide open.
Despite this working to absolute perfection and the Lakers getting a 112-103 win, Beverley claims that guarding James when he demands those switches is ‘not hard at all,’ via according to Harrison Sanford of Inside the Green Room:
I really wanted to know what goes through a guard’s head when LeBron targets them in late game forward/guard pick and pop situations pic.twitter.com/qrVlHnhY9C
— Harrison Sanford (@HarrisonSanford) March 8, 2020
Beverley has always been a hard-nosed type of player who would never admit that another player has the upper hand on him, but the tape doesn’t lie. James had the upper hand all night long no matter who was guarding him, but had an extra easy time when being guarded by point guards.
Perhaps Beverley is still hanging on to Christmas Day when he blocked James’ last-second three-point attempt to tie the game and forced a turnover. But Round 3 was a completely different story in the way James was able to take over.
The Lakers and Clippers will face off one more time before the 2020 NBA playoffs on April 9. Both teams will be on the third night of a back-to-back-to-back situation but should be at full strength for the final matchup. The Lakers might clinch the Western Conference’s No. 1 spot by then, but might still take that game seriously as one final test.