Right now, LeBron James, at the age of 38, is searching for his fifth ring of the NBA championship. However, the way the season started, the Los Angeles Lakers did not look good at all. They were 2-10 after the first 12 games and did not have the right balance. The team was clearly suffering from a lot of injury issues. First, Anthony Davis went out, and then it was James who had to stay out of the game because of his tendon injury.
Finally, GM Rob Pelinka and the rest of the front office decided to make crucial trades right before the February trade deadline. These trades turned out to be the turning point of the season for the Lakers. They are the reason why the Lakers are playing Western Conference finals against Denver Nuggets. But now, the team needs to work harder in the Conference finals. And they cannot let a slow start ruin a game and, eventually, the series against the Nuggets.
LeBron James Blames The Team’s Slow Start For The Game 1 Loss
In the first game of the conference finals against the top-seed team, the Denver Nuggets, the Los Angeles Lakers needed to start well. Like they did in the last two series against the Grizzlies and the defending champions, Golden State Warriors. Apparently, the last time LeBron James helped the Lakers win the 2019-20 season, they met the Nuggets in the Western Conference finals. The LA side went on to win that series 4-1. Clearly, they just blew the Nuggets away. But the latter team is more prepared this time, perhaps, and the two-time MVP Nikola Jokic is just unstoppable. Although the Lakers already knew the Joker was going to be a threat.
But they just let the Serb dominate the first half and the half of the second half. In the fourth quarter, Rui Hachimura did a good job guarding him. He did not let Nikola score in the fourth quarter as well. But LeBron James and Darvin Ham believe that the Lakers started really slow, and that allowed the Nuggets to dominate and get a 20 points lead. This lead also turned out to be too huge for the squad to catch up. LeBron James acknowledged that “It took us till halftime to get back to the game. We let the Nuggets set the tone of the game in the first 24 minutes.” He knows that it is a 48 minutes game. But the Lakers ace feels that in the second half, his team was only playing catch up.
James Desperate To Win His Fifth Championship
After LeBron James got injured in late February, he had to miss a month of Lakers’ games. Although Anthony Davis came to the party and led the Lakers to turn things around miraculously. Moreover, the players from the February trade, like D’Angelo Russell, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Rui Hachimura, all joined the party. That is why the Lakers made the postseason against all odds. Later LeBron James joined the team to confirm the LA side’s chances in the postseason.
From the play-in round to the conference semis, the Lakers blew every opposition away. LeBron James and Anthony Davis led the side very well. However, the Game 1 loss against the Nuggets was a big blow in the first half that actually won the game for Nikola’s side, according to LeBron. Hence, the Lakers need to work on a lot of things to prepare for Game 2 now. For instance, containing the Joker is not enough, the defense needs to ensure that they don’t let the opposition grab so many rebounds.