The seeding games in the bubble have officially concluded, meaning the Los Angeles Lakers can finally look toward the playoffs where they are still considered to be one of the favorites to come away with this year’s NBA championship.
The Lakers looked much more vulnerable than they did prior to the hiatus, but that can be attributed to several factors like the time off and head coach Frank Vogel experimenting with several different lineups. There is also the idea that Los Angeles did not feel the same urgency to perform as they locked up the No. 1 seed.
LeBron James admitted he was still trying to restart his engine, but looked much better toward the end of the seeding play. He only played in the first half in their last game against the Sacramento Kings, but appeared to have his legs under him when shooting the ball.
James will be the key for a Laker playoff run, and in an appearance on Spectrum SportsNet, Lakers vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka said he can see more motivation than ever:
“You spend time around the great greats, not just the greats but some of the greatest to ever play, and when it gets close to playoff time, those guys get so locked in. It’s just another level of the mental approach, the physical approach, the mindset. And you can see it in LeBron. He’s locked in to a mission, he’s got one thing in sight. He wants to bring a title home to the Lakers and he’s going to do everything within his power to do it.”
All offseason long, analysts and pundits wondered whether or not James still had one more championship run in him and he has undoubtedly proven that he is still capable of leading a team to the promised land.
At 35 years old, this may represent his best chance to capture one more title and it will be exciting to see if he can.
LeBron believes Lakers will be ready when postseason begins
As the No. 1 seed, the Lakers had to wait and see how the play-in would shakes out before learning who they would face in the first round of the playoffs. That wound up being the Portland Trail Blazers, who are something of a recent media darling.
James acknowledged there was some difficulty with the uncertainty of who the Lakers would face, but he has remained confident in the team’s ability to focus and properly prepare.
“Once we know who we’re playing, you start to lock in on your opponent,” James explained. “But you build good habits along the way, and we have good habits. So we are ready for the playoffs.
“As far as the mental side, you can’t really lock in on your opponent until you know your opponent, so there’s another level to playoff basketball. We’ve worked our habits throughout the whole season and we’ve prepared ourselves for the playoffs. We’ll be ready for it when it comes.”
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