Every win seems crucial for the Los Angeles Lakers as they try to catch up in the standings, and they turned in an impressive victory over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night.
It was only a few weeks ago when the Celtics embarrassed the Lakers in Boston, but it was the Purple and Gold who walked away with the blowout win this time around. The two teams were actually in a close contest during the first half, but the Lakers turned things on in the second half and would go on to cruise in the fourth quarter.
LeBron James looked more like himself, driving to the basket at will and nailing down jumpers from all over the floor en route to a team-high 30 points. When James has it going, it is hard to stop Los Angeles, but the King was more impressed with how the team as a whole looked on both sides of the basketball.
“I just like the way we competed tonight from both sides of the floor. High intensity. We had a lot of movement. Guys were attacking the rim. Very efficient,” James said. “I think defensively, besides the first 14 avalanche on [Jayson] Tatum’s part, we locked in from that point on. So, any time we’re able to get stops like that, we’re a very, very good team because we’re one of the best teams in transition.
“We got a lot of guys that attack the paint. We have a lot of guys that can make plays for others. Tonight was close to 48 minutes, it was one of the best games of the season as far as the way we just played.”
There have not been to many high points for the Lakers through the first quarter of the 2021-22 season as they have struggled with injuries and inconsistent play, so it was no surprise to hear James talk about what this victory means for them.
Again though, James emphasized that defense is the key to the Lakers having success moving forward.
“It’s just always one of our keys. After those first seven minutes, we just started to be more alert on our game plan the coaching staff have put together. Those things we’ve been working on the last couple of days when we didn’t have games. We were able to maximize our coverages. We knew our game plan was versus every individual player on the court. And we executed that to as close to 48 minutes as we have to win tonight.”
It certainly feels like this was the most overall complete game from Los Angeles as they strung together multiple stops and got out in transition, two key ingredients for success for this iteration of the team. Head coach Frank Vogel did his part in downsizing his starting lineup, but he also recognized the need to add more spacing on the floor which led to extended looks of the Big 3 surrounded by shooters.
Every time the Lakers come up with an impressive victory, they have been unable to build off of it though this time it feels a bit different given they have most of their rotation available and healthy. The team leaves town for a quick back-to-back road trip, and if they can secure a couple more victories they could finally be in business.
James not concerned about rest
Part of the reason why the Lakers may have looked extra fresh in the win over the Celtics is because they had four days off prior, their longest break since the season started.
James himself though believes not having to deal with health and safety protocols was the reason why he looked better in this game compared to the last and doesn’t believe rest as a whole is a big deal for him.
“I didn’t feel great going into that game because I was put into solitary confinement. That was the main reason for that. For me, I don’t really believe in a lot of days in between, whatever the case may be, but that’s just my mindset. Don’t get involved in how many minutes I played, or how old I am, I don’t confine to that. I think when you think negative thoughts, negative energy, then it just creeps into your mind. I’m as young as I’ve ever been.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!