The Los Angeles Lakers are the real deal. If you still had any doubt with regard to the title credentials of this team then their huge Game 1 win over the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night should serve as a clear testament to this fact. LeBron James and Co. came into their NBA Playoffs series opener against the defending champs with a game plan in place, and they made sure to execute it to a tee.
After their hard-fought victory, Lakers head coach Darvin Ham had nothing but high praise for LeBron. In particular, the first-year shot-caller took notice of James’ effectiveness on the defensive end:
“We knew what we did off the ball defensively, particularly, would be extremely important,” Ham said, via Jovan Buha of The Athletic. “He was all on board for that and understood why we had to do it. He did his part. Defensive rebounding is a huge thing. Some of the blocks he had, some of the hard, tough rebounds he had, it allows us a lot of flexibility defensively.”
LeBron James also had a massive block on Stephen Curry late in the fourth quarter as the Lakers held off a stunning late-game run by the Dubs. The Warriors came close to stealing this game away, but in the end, LeBron and Co. — and their exceptional defense — stood their ground.
This was thanks in large part to another dominant performance by LeBron on both ends of the floor, who also has his teammates to thank for the victory:
“There’s times where he’s going to dictate the pick and roll, the offense, there’s times he’s going to be off the ball,” Ham said on LeBron. “We got guys that can carry the load from (D’Angelo Russell), Austin (Reaves), Dennis (Schröder), Rui (Hachimura), obviously (Anthony Davis). It gives him a chance to not have to make every play.”
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