SUBJECT: L. JAMES
Focus: adjusting to LA, scoring/playmaking balance
GAME 3 OF 3
10/22 V. SAS • L, 143-142
DD - 32 pts (11/25 shooting), 14! dimes & 8 boards
The final game of LeBron’s tracking… assignment was a meeting with a familiar foe: Coach Gregg Popovich’s San Antonio Spurs.
One of the most thrilling early season matchups, LA & San Antonio went down to the wire - the game ended up being decided in overtime on a curl J by Patty Mills.
Til that point, LeBron experienced the highs and lows of life as a superstar in Los Angeles.
The first half saw LeBron in full distributor mode - he dished out 5 dimes, including 4 in the opening period. After the break, it was a different story - in full attack mode, he hit 7/11 field goals for 23 AND dished out 5 dimes.
Down 3 with under 15 seconds left, LeBron pulled up & cashed a triple to send it to OT! - sending Staples Center in a frenzy.
But later, in OT, he missed two clutch FTs (w/ LAL leading 142-141) setting up Mills’s go-ahead J + the potential game-winner w/ a few seconds left.
Though the end result wasn’t what he hoped, there’s still positives to takeaway from LeBron’s performances throughout the week.
QUICK STATS & NOTES
LAL: 0-3 record
L. James: avg. 30 min.
Made just 3 triples over 3 games
Avg. 9+ dimes over 3 games -- Not quite. Avg. 8.3 dimes
Lead team in assists in all 3 games -- Nope. 1/3 games
28+ points in 2 of 3 games -- Not quite. 26, 24 & 32-point games
Trip-dub in 1 of 3 games -- Nope. Closest: 32, 14 & 8 dimes v. SAS
3-0 record for tracking… period -- Nope. 0-3
Goals Completed: 0/5 :/
Overall, the first week of LeBron’s Laker career was promising despite obvious missteps in the win column.
Throughout the tracking… period, the focus was on adjusting to his new environment/teammates/coaching staff + the balance between scoring & playmaking.
In games 1-2, LeBron seemed to take his time from an aggression standpoint.
Game 3, however, was a different story - early season-highs of 32 pts & 14! dimes highlighted his comfortability doing what he does best: giving his team a chance to win. And though LA dropped all 3 contests this past week (all v. Western Conference playoff teams), they were in prime position* to capture each one.
*aka the LeBron effect
A couple lineup changes here and there…LA won’t have much trouble staying in and later, closing out games. Coach Luke Walton must find a unit capable of defending the perimeter and limiting penetration (at the very least) - must prioritize due to a lack of size on the interior, or else teams will continue to feast around the basket.
From a statistical standpoint, the only (early) cause for concern is LeBron’s lack of efficiency from downtown. Still, it’s a shot he can’t ignore with the changing of the guard around the league - look for his three ball to bounce back after getting into a better rhythm the next few weeks.
An 0-3 start isn’t a damning omen for this year’s Lakers. A mixed group (veterans + “prospects”) w/ lofty expectations, we should know more about the state of the franchise during our revisit** sometime in the near future.
**Tracking…LeBron James (Pt. 2) coming soon!