After dropping Game 1 in each of their first two playoff series, the Los Angeles Lakers twice ripped off four consecutive wins to reach the Western Conference Finals and end a 10-year drought for the franchise.
LeBron James and company have demonstrated when they are locked in, they are nearly impossible to defeat. James and Anthony Davis have been as good as advertised, while the defense has been playing at elite levels since the postseason started.
The Lakers got off to a slow start in the bubble, clearly working through changes in the rotation and shaking off rust from the season’s hiatus. However, James is seeing their hard work come to fruition.
“From Day 1, coach Vogel and the coaching staff we need to be the best defensive team in the league. We took that to heart,” James recently said. “We had some good months, we had some great months, we had a couple weeks we were not that good defensively, but we’re hitting our stride at the right time.
“I think for us we continue to get better and better throughout this postseason run so far, and we want to continue that going into the next round.”
James previously reiterated that Los Angeles was getting better each game and that has proven to be true so far. Some of that is solely effort, but it is clear they have been well-coached and are executing the game plan set forth.
The Lakers shook off the habit of dropping Game 1, and responded well after falling to the Denver Nuggets. They now enter Saturday with an opportunity to close the series out and reach the NBA Finals.
LeBron not sure where Lakers rank compared to pre-hiatus level
It seems like ages ago when the Lakers swept a weekend slate of games against the Milwaukee Bucks and L.A. Clippers, establishing themselves as a true contender.
With how they have looked in the playoffs, it could be argued they have exceeded that level of play. However, James can not say for sure whether or not that is case.
“I don’t know if we’ve surpassed it,” he admitted. “We’re just playing good ball at the right time and we want to continue that. Being in the bubble, all we have is each other.
“Obviously our families got here within the last week or so, but we’ve been together for two straight months and just having that bunker mentality, seeing each other at practices, meetings, buses to practices and games, it’s just been us. It’s given us an opportunity to grow even closer than we already were.”
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