The LA Lakers have had a turbulent season so far, however their brand-new star LeBron James has hit the ground running in his first regular season.
The next game on the NBA schedule for the Lakers is against the New Orleans Pelicans, but the anticipation is high for the marquee Christmas day game against the Golden State Warriors.
So much so that the game is trending on basketball news as the most expensive Christmas day game in the NBA history on the secondary market, with the average asking price for tickets expected to be around $1,292. The spotlight will be on James, as the Lakers will look to acquit themselves well against the NBA champions.
Still the same lethal attacking threat, James has also put in a defensive shift, and gathered much attention in the basketball news. Fans were expecting a slow start to the season for the team to gel with the NBA legend, as had been in previous outings with the Miami Heat and the Cleveland Cavaliers, but L.A. reeled off a 10-4 November – the percentage equivalent of a 59-win team. Despite the great start to the season, the flaws have started to appear of late and the Lakers are on a two-game losing streak, as thoughtless errors and miscommunication in the squad has costed the team crucial points.
Ahead of the much awaited fixture, let’s take a look at the five best plays by LeBron James for the Lakers this season so far.
#5 Debut (Vs. the Portland Trail Blazers, 18/10)
LeBron James’ debut for the Los Angeles Lakers opened with two thunderous dunks and closed with a loss. However, the two dunks were rather important despite the loss at hand. It served as a reminder to the league that he is still on top of his game and an introduction to the fans and his coach of what he is capable of. And if it makes anything better, all of James’ debut matches have ended in defeats.
All eyes were on James with a huge media contingent on hand for his debut with Nike co-founder Phil Knight also in attendance (James has a lifetime endorsement deal with Nike that will pay him over $1 billion by the time he is 64).
He started by running the floor on a breakaway and absolutely slamming a ball through the net. He continued by running the floor and again delivering a thunderous dunk. It was vintage LeBron in a new uniform.
#4 Homecoming (Vs. the San Antonio Spurs, 22/10)
If anything meant for the fans than his debut game against the Portland Trail Blazers, it was his first home game at the Staples Center. Similar to his debut, the Lakers again tasted defeat as they remained three games winless with LeBron on their side.
Far from his best game, he missed two free throws with 12.8 seconds left to play and the Spurs did well enough to get into the lead. The NBA superstar is self-admittedly ‘garbage’ from the free-throw line and only serves as a reminder that he is human. James then again missed a step-back three pointer at the buzzer.
However, in a spectacular moment, James tied the score with a majestic three-pointer with 2.4 seconds left in regulation time as he summed of his game with 32 points, 14 assists and eight rebounds. The Staples Center had never sounded this loud before, and the fans sure won’t forget that three pointer anytime soon.
#3 Record-break (Vs. the Portland Trail Blazers, 14/11)
One of Lebron’s best games this season. It also had significant history in the making as the kid from Akron surpassed former Laker legend Wilt Chamberlain on the NBA’s top career scores list to occupy the 5th spot. The man who is no short of historic achievements was more jubilant about leading his team to another win.
He recorded a the-then season-high of 44 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, with 28 points solely in the second half. He just fell short of his 75th triple-double.
In a really impressive play, James blocked Nik Stauskas’ attempt to dunk, ran across the floor receiving the ball from Lonzo Ball, spinned around Al-Farouq Aminu and dunked the ball home, in what was a smooth transition from defence to attack.
#2 Triple-double alongside Lonzo Ball (Vs. the Charlotte Hornets, 15/12)
Lebron James and Lonzo Ball became the second only teammates after the legendary duo of Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to record a triple-double in the same game for the Lakers.
It was an important game for the team as it showed on the court that the team is gelling well now and players know each other’s positions without having to look.
In the most impressive play of the night, Lonzo did well to get the block in and then protect the ball by swapping it from the right to the left behind his back under his own net. He runs across the floor to pass it to LeBron who threads a delicate assist for the impressive JaVale McGee who played through a flu.
#1 No-look pass (Vs. the Portland Trail Blazers, 14/11)
Going to the same record breaking game against Portland, LeBron pulled off an absolutely outrageous no-look pass for McGee. Running down the centre of the court, Lebron gazed down the left flank as he lobbed in a assist over three Portland players for McGee to dunk home.