LeBron James: Lakers Know What’s At Stake During In-Season Tournament
Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers went on the road and beat the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night, improving their record to 7-6 on the season.

Perhaps more importantly though, the win moved the Lakers to 3-0 during the NBA’s In-Season Tournament group play. The Lakers have the best point differential in the entire NBA so far in the tournament at plus-42 and are one win away from clinching Group A and perhaps the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.

It was LeBron James leading the way for L.A. in the win in Portland as he turned back to clock to the tune of 35 points, five rebounds, nine assists and two steals on 13-of-22 shooting.

He has played in countless important games in his life so it’s not surprising to see him step up his level of play in the In-Season Tournament.

The Lakers are 3-0 in the tournament and 4-6 in all other games. It seems that they have an extra level of focus during the In-Season Tournament and James explained why, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

“I think it’s an incentive, for sure, early in the season when you’re playing in the In-Season Tournament. We understand what’s at stake. That’s not saying we’re putting all our eggs in one basket in the In-Season Tournament, but we know when the games come on Tuesday and Friday, we know what it’s about. We know what’s at stake so it’s been good to us so far.

Even though the In-Season Tournament isn’t the same as the actual NBA Championship, there is definitely more at stake than a regular season game. If the Lakers are able to go all the way then not only do they get to say they’re the first-ever winners of the NBA Cup, but there also is a financial aspect involved that seems to be motivating the Lakers.

The Lakers are set to host the Utah Jazz on Tuesday in their final game of the group stage. They can clinch their group with a win but also have a chance to advance to the knockout stages with a loss depending on point differential.

LeBron James meets Formula 1 drivers Charles Leclerc and Esteban Ocon

Friday night marked the second meeting between the Lakers and Trail Blazers this season as L.A. hosted Portland and picked up a victory last Sunday.

Even though James didn’t play in that game, he was still there and got the chance to meet Formula 1 drivers Charles Leclerc and Esteban Ocon, who gifted the Lakers star a cool racing helmet.

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