LeBron & Lakers Run Over Warriors!
LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers’ young core ran the world champion Golden State Warriors out of Las Vegas
T-Mobile Arena was rocking and rolling last night as LeBron James and the young core of the Los Angeles Lakers ran the world champion Golden State Warriors out of the gym, outscoring the champs 38–17 in fast break points.
The league has been breaking summer attendance records consistently but it was like somebody forget to tell the Lakers and Warriors and the fans that this was just a preseason game. LeBron, Kuz, Lonzo, KD, Steph, and Klay were balling like it was the regular season and the stands were packed with fans from both teams and sprinkled with Lakers legends and celebrities. ESPN reported the game was the highest rated preseason game in history.
Here are my major takeaways from the Lakers 123–113 win over the Warriors last night a T-Mobile Arena:
- Bron having fun! The smiles on LeBron’s face as he ran up and down the court in his first matchup against the Warriors team that eliminated him in 3 of the last 4 NBA Finals was a stunning contrast to the grimaces we saw last summer as his career in Cleveland came to a disappointing end. The young Lakers and Luke Walton’s breakneck pace have rejuvenated the King. He’s not only embraced playing fast but is loving it like the kids.
- Welcome back, Lonzo! After airballing his first and only 3-point attempt, Lonzo Ball proceeded to impact the game in his own unique way, scoring 7 points in 3 of 5 shooting and adding 4 rebounds, 4 assists, and 4 steals. For a rookie player coming off knee surgery and practicing for just a week, Lonzo looked fabulous at both ends, especially defensively. While Rondo is still an elite point guard, there’s no question Lonzo Ball should start.
- Baby Lakers Ball! The first half last night was all LeBron James as he ran ram shod over the Warriors, posting 15 points, 10 boards, and 5 dimes in just 18 minutes, culminating in a 35-foot buzzer beating 3 to end the half. But the second half belonged to the Baby Lakers as Brandon Ingram (26/5/1), Kyle Kuzma (22/3/1), and Lonzo Ball (7/4/4) outplayed the Warriors starters to extend a 4-point half time lead into double digits.
- Run, Run, Run! Last season, the Lakers’ 23.4 points per game led the league in transition offense. That’s a big reason why LeBron is all-in on the Lakers playing even faster than last year. He even said the Lakers would be ‘stupid’ not to run a fast-paced offense. Last night, LeBron and the baby Lakers took a page right out of the world champ’s playbook and literally ran the Warriors out of the gym, outscoring them 38 to 17 in transition.
- Defense Win Ships! After struggling offensively in their first four preseason games, the Lakers finally appeared to be getting their act together on the defensive end, holding the Warriors to 43.8% shooting from the field and winning the steals game 11–9 and the blocks game 5–3. Overall, the Lakers showed marked improvement in keeping opposing players in front of them and challenging every shot aggressively.
- Better X’s and O’s! Luke Walton must have been paying attention to the media criticism of their half court offensive schemes because the Lakers abandoned the 1–4 High offense fans and pundits had been criticizing. Instead, last night we saw mostly 4-out and 5-out sets with shooters in both corners to spread the floor and more players cutting and slashing. Sharing the ball beautifully, the Lakers out assisted the Warriors 28–23.
- Getting to the Line! The Lakers finished 8th in the league with 23.3 free throw attempts per game. While the refs are intentionally calling more fouls during the preseason, the Lakers have improved to 5th in the league at 33.6 free throw attempts per game. Last night, Brandon Ingram got to the line an amazing 17 times and made 15 of them. With Ingram and LeBron aboard, the Lakers could lead the league in free throw attempts.
While it was just a preseason game, what we saw last night as LeBron and the Lakers’ young core ran the world champion Warriors out of Las Vegas was a Lakers team that could be more dangerous than fans and pundits realize.