Although the Los Angeles Lakers lost their fifth straight game of the 2021 preseason, the debut of the team’s Big 3 in front of the Staples Center crowd overshadowed the worryingly extending streak on Tuesday.
LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis played three quarters in the 111-99 loss to the Golden State Warriors. After the All-Star trio checked out of the game, the Warriors outscored the Lakers 26-15 in the fourth period to notch a second victory over L.A. this preseason.
Davis still led the team in points with 20, sinking seven of his 12 field goal attempts (58.3%). Westbrook bowed out with a double-double, registering 10 rebounds and six assists — both team highs. Meanwhile, James scored 17 points, adding six rebounds, four assists and three steals.
“Yeah, we saw some great things,” Davis said after the game.
“With me, Bron, and Russ in actions, there’s endless possibilities of things that we can run and can do especially with shooters on the backside like Melo and Baze, all our shooters.”
But as the game ended in a defeat, after all, Davis acknowledged that the Big 3 still have plenty of work to do before they can unleash their potential.
Sloppy ballhandling regularly crept into the Lakers’ offense again. James, Westbrook, and Davis accounted for 12 of L.A.’s 20 turnovers. The three purple and gold musketeers also shot a poor 2-for-9 from behind the 3-point line (22.2%).
Not to mention that the Lakers allowed Steph Curry and Draymond Green-less Golden State to chalk up 111 points while failing to reach 100 themselves.
“It was still an adjustment,” Davis continued, ”we’ve done it a lot in practice but the first time playing together on the floor tonight, and even though there were good things, still a lot of things we need to do better.
“Still can work on our defensive schemes as a unit. Even though we have the same schemes, it’s new players in it and when we’re playing defense we’re trying to adjust, hesitating, but it looked good and we get another shot at it on Thursday.”
Similarly, although wary of the Big 3’s imperfections that emerged in the trio’s very first game together, James and Westbrook still exuded mild confidence rather than showing signs of worry following the Tuesday loss.
“It’s going to take a minute for us to become the team that we know we’re capable of being,” Jams said.
“It’s all about working the process and being patient with the process. Understanding that we’re going to have frustrating moments, we’re going to have moments where we’re not quite there and may take a step backward.”
Just like the four-time NBA champion, Westbrook asked to give the Big 3 some time to gel.
“We had some good spurts,” he said.
“Obviously, this is the first game. Some good things we can take from it. Watching film, figure out spacing, timing. We can be a little encouraged by it.”
James stresses importance of film sessions
When locked in the Orlando bubble last year, the Lakers famously spent many an hour in the film room to search for things to improve during the memorable 2020 NBA Playoffs. The rest is history: L.A. never dropped two games in a row and outplayed their rivals in each series on the way to the franchise’s 17th championship.
James says that film sessions will carry an enormous weight this season, too, ensuring this new, exciting group of players morphs into a monolith — just as the fabled 2020 team did.
“Any team you have a new team, a whole new core of guys it just takes a little bit,” he said.
And James added: “Repeating that to the guys. Best thing about us is we have this open communication. … Film sessions are going to be very key. Shootarounds are going to be very key.”
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