The Los Angeles Lakers and Golden State Warriors played one of the more entertaining preseason games that you’ll ever see in Las Vegas on Wednesday night, with the Lakers coming out on top, 123-113. LeBron James gave Lakers fans a taste of the absurd stat-lines that he’s capable of producing in what was likely his final run of the preseason, putting up 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 assists in just 18 minutes of action.
Much has been made of the fact that he’s never played on a team that finished Top 10 in pace, but his seamless transition (heh) into the Lakers’ style of play has been the most notable element of his preseason. He made a concerted effort to drop down to the defensive glass against Golden State — an area of concern for the Lakers going forward — and immediately looked to outlet the ball or push it ahead himself off of the dribble, creating high-quality looks for himself and his teammates.
Let’s take a closer look.
LeBron James put on a show last night in the first half against Golden State. @LakerFilmRoom takes a closer look.https://t.co/ylkNdf7Uma pic.twitter.com/xihIcdXh4Q— Silver Screen & Roll (@LakersSBN) October 11, 2018
LeBron knows how to pace himself better than anyone in the NBA, and his embrace of the Lakers’ transition style may have a positive impact on other aspects of his game. Sure, he has to run more, but his minutes are filled with lower impact possessions. He’s been better on the defensive end during the preseason than he was for much of 2017-18, which will be a critical component of whether or not the Lakers can be passable on that end this season.
He did a little more work in isolation and off of pick and rolls in the penultimate preseason game than he’s done throughout the rest of the preseason, and we’ll likely see that continue to increase as the regular season begins. But he’s managed to put up gaudy numbers even for him (31.1 points, 10.8 rebounds, 8.5 assists on 72.6 TS% per-36 minutes) without stifling his teammates, which bodes well for the potency of the Lakers’ offense going forward.
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