In typical fashion, LeBron James was able to bounce back after a Game 1 loss and led the Los Angeles Lakers to an exciting Game 2 win over the Phoenix Suns.
James looked much more like himself on the floor as he was active defensively and offensively found a groove with his jump shot. The star scored 23 points to go along with nine assists and four rebounds but more importantly made timely plays in the second half.
The 36-year-old hit several tough shots when the team needed it most, including a dagger three, but James downplayed them and stated he was happy to help earn a win.
“Just playoff basketball,” James said of his big shots. “Obviously, emotions and every possession is so key, so to be able to make a big play in a big moment means a lot to our ball club.”
Head coach Frank Vogel, meanwhile, heaped praise on James for his performance. “Just great leadership. Our group really moved the ball well tonight,” Vogel said. “But Bron affects the game in so many ways, defensive communication, running the floor, getting guys involved, he had nine assists.
“When you go to the paint against this team, they’re gonna put five bodies in front of you and you have to play extra-pass basketball. Both Bron and AD had over seven assists for the first time this year and those guys draw a crowd and made the extra pass. So big part of a team win and obviously Bron down the stretch just hit big-time shots to help us get the victory.”
At the end of the third quarter, James nailed a corner 3-pointer while drifting out of bounds, then later followed it up with a contested jumper over Cameron Johnson atop the arc. However, his biggest shot came in the final minutes as he hit an open three that essentially iced the game for the Lakers.
Even though he is not at 100%, James is still the hub for the Purple and Gold on both ends and his Game 2 outing was nothing short of impressive. It will be fun to see him finally play in front of the Lakers Nation crowd in Game 3 at Staples Center.
James excited to play at Staples Center for first time in playoffs
Game 3 will mark James’ playoff debut in Staples Center and the superstar admitted it is going to be a special moment for him and the fans.
“I’m going to be completely honest, I think our Laker faithful in that [Golden State] Warriors game that Play-In Game, they made it feel like it was a playoff game. We treated it like it was a playoff game. Obviously, both sides did that. Obviously, this is a different situation, but it felt like it. It felt like a playoff game.
“Us just coming home 1-1 evening it up the series and actually playing a real playoff game is, obviously, because it’s the first round, for the first time in eight years, is going to be pretty special for our fans and just have our fans in the building to make them proud. That’s what I came here for to be able to play a playoff game in front of the Laker faithful.”
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