The Lakers had to pull every rabbit out of their hat to comeback and beat the Phoenix Suns at home in the fourth quarter. While they needed Phoenix to go ice cold from the field and an impeccable defensive performance from Christian Wood, it was old reliable the LeBron James and Anthony Davis pick and roll that secured the win.
With 3:44 left in the fourth, LeBron James brought the ball up the court and waited for a trailing Anthony Davis to get back on the Lakers' side of the court. He then slipped between Jusuf Nurkic and Eric Gordon and drove to the basket while Davis trailed behind, ready to grab the rebound or an inside pass from James. He converted on the layup and gave L.A. the lead.
Both teams exchanged baskets and were even again at 91 as James and Davis executed another pick and roll. The result was the same, James blew past Gordon while a slower-footed Nurkic was helpless to prevent James from getting to the basket.
"I think it's second nature for myself and AD," James said. "We've been doing this for five years now. We know when it's money time, it's a close game, we know we have a few actions we can get to where we know we can at least get a good look and a good shot either for myself or for a teammate or for AD. We were able to go that late in this game and we were able to execute."
LEBRON JAMES. YEAR 21.— NBA (@NBA) October 27, 2023
GET TO TNT FOR THE END! pic.twitter.com/DQnxUMdxcU
In the following possession, LeBron put the Suns away for good. This time, James drove inside instead of outside of Nurkic, with Grayson Allen attempting a weak swat at the ball while Kevin Durant witnessed another closeout performance from the 21-year vet.
The James and Davis pick and roll is a perfect pairing rivaled only by peanut butter and jelly. With their size, athleticism and years of chemistry, there isn't a good option as a defender. Overhelp on James and he can dish it back to Davis or shooters waiting on the wing. Stay back and you allow James to go downhill and apply his force on your big. The Lakers have utilized this action to a 2020 title, a 2023 Western Conference appearance and will use it early and often this year in hopes of reaching their ultimate goal of an 18th championship.
You can follow Edwin on Twitter at @ECreates88.