The Los Angeles Lakers entered the 2021-22 season with plenty of questions concerning the fit of their restructured roster. It remains an ongoing process, but the Lakers are starting to find their stride as they build chemistry. Meanwhile, LeBron James is sending a frightening message to the rest of the league behind his play.
Lakers are starting to find their stride
After dropping their first two games, the Lakers have turned it around, winning five out of their last six contests.
Los Angeles continues to round into form as their roster builds chemistry that will anchor the team’s success. The wins haven’t all come encouragingly, but the Lakers are pushing their way up the standings. Tuesday’s victory over the Houston Rockets featured their Big 3 leading the charge.
It marked the first time their three stars scored more than 25 points in a single game together. LeBron James posted his double-double of the season with 30 points and 10 assists. Meanwhile, Anthony Davis notched 27 points, nine rebounds, and three blocks, and Russell Westbrook recorded 27 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists.
The win came at a little too close for comfort, but Los Angeles did more than enough offensively to earn their third straight win. The contest also underlined a promising reality for the Lakers concerning the four-time league MVP.
LeBron James is sending a loud-and-clear scary reality to the rest of the NBA without saying a single word
As the Lakers continue to find their identity, it’s become crystal clear what to expect from James.
In his 19th campaign, the 36-year-old remains performing at an elite level, averaging 24.8 points, 7.0 assists, and 5.5 rebounds while shooting 46.7% from the floor. After Tuesday’s win, head coach Frank Vogel voiced that he doesn’t see any drop-off in James’ play compared to when he first took the job with the Lakers two years ago.
“I wouldn’t say there is any difference now than two years ago,” Vogel said via Ryan Ward of Lakers Nation. “He’s still playing at a super high level. Until he rolled his ankle the other day, he was probably shooting the ball better than two years ago. I don’t know if the numbers support that, but he came out of the gates super-hot. He’s still going.”
James is older, but his unwavering commitment to his health allows him to maintain his high production despite nearing two decades in the league. He is still a massive factor in transition while displaying the physical nature of his game to bully his way to the rim.
The 17-time All-Star showcased that on Sunday night with a reverse two-hand dunk and followed it up with a couple of alley-oop throwdowns on Tuesday. It also featured him muscling his way past Kevin Porter Jr. for a thunderous two-hand slam.
James is still working through a leg injury, which underlines the importance of play regarding the talent around him. Beyond that, James is making a statement that his play isn’t declining anytime soon.
Lakers needs more than LeBron James to compete for an NBA title
James’ stellar play is a promising sight, but the Lakers will need much more than his production.
Tuesday’s win nearly featured Los Angeles falling short against a young and inexperienced Rockets team, but it featured the blueprint for their Big 3. Davis is significantly impacting both ends of the floor, while Westbrook is finding more comfort within the offense.
Since James missed two games, Westbrook has notched with four 20-point outings in the last five contests. He tallied north of five assists in each game while shooting above 45% three times.
The supporting cast also needs to provide stability as Carmelo Anthony has been an offensive bright spot, averaging 16.5 points on 51.6% shooting from the floor and 52.9% from 3-point range. Los Angeles will have more help once Kendrick Nunn, Talen Horton-Tucker, and Dwight Howard return.
Only time will tell what type of team the Lakers possess, but it’s pushing toward the right direction.