LeBron James has helped guide the LA Lakers to a promising spot with top overall seed in the Western Conference playoff picture. However, the Lakers have had their fair share of struggles in the Orlando Bubble situation. That has seen James work through a matter that he hasn’t had to do in the last two decades.
Lakers’ struggles in the Orlando Bubble
It hasn’t been the ideal start for the Lakers in the restarted season in the Orlando Bubble.
LA has clinched the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs by winning two out of their first three games. However, things have fallen in the opposite direction over the last week with three straight losses. The Lakers suffered tough losses to the Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, and Indiana Pacers.
There has been outside concern regarding their offensive rhythm due to their shooting struggles. The team has also experienced issues with their health as LeBron James, Alex Caruso, and Dwight Howard have all sat out a game. It’s hard to gauge where things stand for the Lakers as they move through the last two regular-season games with the top Western Conference playoff spot already clinched.
However, there is a hurdle James is still working his way through that he has never dealt with before.
LeBron James not used to playing with no fans
The NBA’s decision to play in a isolated situation in Orlando for the season restart has been a significant change for everyone.
That is certainly the case for LeBron James as he’s had to make some notable adjustments on the court. The biggest change for him is playing without any fans in attendance as it’s something that he hasn’t done since his early high school days, according to Mark Medina of USA TODAY Sports.
“I am getting more and more used to being out there. It’s a very weird dynamic. I haven’t played in an empty gym in a very, very long time,” James said following the Lakers’ 116-111 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Saturday. “It’s been a very long time since no one has been watching me play the game. I’m just trying to find that rhythm and lock in…
“I’m getting more and more comfortable playing in an empty gym,” James said. “Just having the backdrop here is a lot different from playing in a high school gym or a college arena where you’re playing in the summer time, whatever the case may be. It’s very dark, extremely dark. You can literally hear a feather hit the ground. I’m just getting more and more comfortable playing with my game here in the bubble.”
James has been a primary attraction for fans dating back to his high school days as people packed school gyms to watch him play. That has gotten him used to playing a basketball game in front of many fans for the last two decades. It’s a change of scenery that all players are going through, but that is a different adjustment for everyone.
It’s something that he’s putting forth a concerted effort to get his mind frame right to get himself comfortable in this temporary setting.
Lakers eyeing NBA title run
The struggles since the season restart aside, the Lakers are eyeing a deep run in the playoffs.
LA possesses a veteran-laden roster that is led by two premier talents in LeBron James and Anthony Davis. They have been one of the most balanced teams that have excelled on both ends of the floor. Their shooting woes have drawn concern, but the playoffs are a different situation altogether.
The Lakers’ roster has plenty of players with playoff experience, which could make a world of difference. There are several highly formidable opponents in the West beyond the LA Clippers, such as the Utah Jazz, Denver Nuggets, Rockets, and Thunder.
LA will have their hands full, but the opportunity to vie for an NBA title is there.