Welcome to the latest — and a special extended — edition of “My Three Favorite Details,” a weekly video series in which I detail three plays or moments from the previous week of Lakers games that jumped off the screen to me, with one play highlighting elite movement mechanics, one highlighting physical attributes (speed, power, balance, agility, etc), and one highlighting mental skills (awareness, anticipation, reading of the game).
This week, I’ve included multiple plays under each category and one moment that showcases all three in combination from multiple Lakers players working in concert with one another on the defensive end.
Today’s video encompasses the final three games of the Lakers’ series against the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Semifinals. These were some of my favorite things that I noticed:
So there you go. LeBron James executing a one-footed step back that would make Dirk Nowitzki proud, Alex Caruso with a textbook defensive closeout to the perimeter and secondary contest to block a shot cleanly, talented rookie Talen Horton-Tucker using excellent body control to attack the lane for a layup, Kyle Kuzma and Alex Caruso tag-teaming in transition defense to slow down James Harden (resulting in a Caruso chase down swat). We also have Kuzma with a great read and cut to take advantage of the Rockets doubling LeBron on a weakside duck in, Caruso mentally meeting a huge moment in Game 4 to knock down the game-sealing corner three, and finally, a combination of mechanics, physical, and mental skills in a half-court defensive rotation resulting in an airball by Russell Westbrook.
That’s it for this edition of my three favorite details, but I’m going to be doing these here and on my YouTube channel on a weekly basis throughout the Lakers’ restart. If you see something you think should be included during the week, tweet it at me at @3cbPerformance, or let me know if there was anything you loved from last week in the comments below.
Dr. Rajpal Brar has a doctorate in physical therapy from Northern Arizona University, and runs his own sports medicine and performance business, 3CB Performance, in West Los Angeles and Valencia, CA along with providing online consultation services. He also works at a hospital — giving him experience with patients in the immediate healthcare setting and neurological patients (post stroke, post brain injury) — and has been practicing for over three years. Dr. Brar is additionally training at UCLA’s mindful awareness research center (MARC), and analyzes the Lakers from a medical perspective for Silver Screen and Roll and Laker Film Room.