LeBron James: Lakers ‘Got The Job Done’ In ‘Ugly’ Win Over 76ers
LeBron James, Lakers
Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers got a home game against a Joel Embiid-less Philadelphia 76ers team after three days rest on Friday night. All of those circumstances should have led to a relatively easy victory to help keep L.A. alive in the standings chase. And while the Lakers did eventually secure the win, it was hard fought and rarely pretty.

The Lakers won 101-94, their fifth-lowest point total of the season and their second-lowest point total in a winning effort. The Lakers held the 76ers to 42 second-half points en route to the victory. It was necessary to lean on the defense, as no one could get anything going offensively for L.A. The Lakers had shooting splits of 43.8/38.7/75.8 as a team.

James knew it wasn’t the best-looking win, but was happy that the Lakers could lean on their defense — an area of struggle this season — to secure a much-needed victory.

“Ugly. But we got the job done,” James said. “Obviously, the three-day rest. You got guys that didn’t have their legs, and the rhythm was off. Obviously, our turnovers were a lot more than we are accustomed over the last few weeks. But we got the job done.

“We defended like a mug in the second half, gave up only 18 in the third and 24 in the fourth, or vice versa actually. So that’s big time. When your offense is struggling like it was, we had a lot of chippys that we missed, a lot of open looks that we missed. But when you can lock in on defense and get a win like that, that’s very important.”

The Lakers have not been a good defensive team for much of the season, but James feels that when their backs are against the wall, they are capable of that kind of play.

“We didn’t have a choice. Like I said, we turned the ball over way too much, we gave them some new some easy buckets, easy baskets by giving up free reigns during the break or on offensive rebounds. But when we got into the halfcourt, we was able to buckle down on the defensive side and make them take tough shots and rebounded the majority of them.”

While there is an element of rest versus rust with the Lakers having a rare three days off at this point in the season, James believes it’s mostly a good thing as they prepare for the home stretch and a possible postseason run.

“Just rest. I mean, we was able to get on the practice floor a little bit more, obviously, that helps,” James said. “It’s just we’ve been playing so many games and every other day, back-to-backs and things of that nature. We haven’t had three days rest in a long time. So we did get a couple of great days of practice.

“But you definitely lose some rhythm; you lose some rhythm offensively and the way we’ve been playing offensively before tonight, we was playing at a high level. So we lost a rhythm in that, but we needed it. I guess we needed the rest obviously. Having Cam [Reddish] back, he needed to rest a couple more days, that helped him be able to play. You see what he’s capable of doing, especially defensively in the fourth and then the rest of the guys.”

The Lakers have 12 games in the final 23 days of the regular season, giving them only two two-day breaks with the rest being back-to-backs or one day off. For James, this might be a good thing as it keeps them in rhythm with a chance to make a big move in the standings.

LeBron James discusses issue with 2-for-1 shot

In the first episode of James’ new podcast with JJ Redick, “Mind the Game,” the Lakers star shared his dislike of a common trend in the NBA of the 2-for-1 shot at the end of quarters. He feels it doesn’t take into account the rhythm of the game and can lead to teams getting poor looks in the search for an extra possession.

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