The LeBron James the Warriors are facing this postseason with the Lakers is a much different one than the one they saw time and time again in the Finals with the Cavaliers. After Game 1, Draymond Green said as much in his postgame podcast.
Fast forward a number of days and games later and they’re still searching for the answers. After Game 3, Draymond shared on his podcast an on-court interaction with Steph Curry in which the two still remain a bit puzzled by LeBron’s play.
“Bron after not taking any shots,” Green said, “Steph said to me ‘Yo, I’m trying to figure Bron out. Like, I don’t know.’ After not taking a shot through most of the first half, he ended up getting it going with 21-8-8 and was big, really big. Hit some big shots, some timely shots. One of the threes he hit on the wing in the first half was a very timely bucket.”
In their defense, Game 3 was one of the more bizarre games of LeBron’s postseason career. He did not score or even take a shot in the first quarter, letting everyone around him carry the load.
Part of it was the Warriors' defense continuing to focus on him and, as he’s played his whole career, LeBron took what they gave him and let others score. Part of it also was the fact that D’Angelo Russell was red hot to start and Anthony Davis has been utterly dominant for most of this series. The end result was LeBron not scoring until well into the second quarter, and yet he finished with 21 points.
LeBron did not score until the 6:32 mark of the 2nd quarter in Game 3. He checked out at the 9:11 mark of the 4th quarter.— Jacob Rude (@JacobRude) May 8, 2023
That means his 21 points came in 18 minutes between those two marks
The Lakers continued to not need LeBron to be Superman to have success this postseason, which is a remarkable luxury that he’s never had before.
Draymond also touched on a number of other topics, including D’Lo. As much of the discussion has centered around LeBron and Anthony Davis, Green pointed toward Russell as one of the Lakers’ x-factors.
“D’Lo was really good,” Green said. “He got off to a very fast start, had 21 points, five for eight from three. We have to do a better job of containing D’Lo. In this series, when we’ve contained him, we’ve been pretty good. Obviously, it’s three games and they’re up 2-1 but, pretty much most of the games, he’s gotten off to a fast start but we’ve been able to slow it down. Last night, we didn’t do a good job of slowing it down.”
Russell scored the first 11 points of the game for the Lakers and was really important in the win. As Green noted, Russell has 40 points and is shooting 6-13 from the 3-point line in the two wins and has been big in both.
Green also talked about the hot-topic debate of fouls, calling his foul trouble “very interesting” but certainly did not point to the officials as the reason for the loss. An interesting note he made, though, is how the Lakers constantly getting to the line also keeps the Warriors out of rhythm, saying it “stopped us from flowing, stopped the flow of the game.”
If the Lakers can continue getting to the line and playing with force, something Draymond also said they did on Saturday, then this could be another long and confusing night for the Warriors in Game 4.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.