May 16, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Lakers’ LeBron James hits an iconic shot in win at Houston

Here are five takeaways from the Lakers117-100 win in Houston on Tuesday night:

1.) You’re not LeBron James. You’re going to have to look at this to know what’s coming next.

James could have his back turned longer, especially with these Rockets standing behind him. He didn’t look for just a second Tuesday — but it was the kind of moment that could eventually be a part of James’ legend.

With the Lakers already rolling, the ball swung to James in the corner. And before he could shoot, Dennis Schroder bet him from the Lakers’ bench that he would miss.

“Bet a Benjamin on it,” Schroder said.

And as James let the shot go, he immediately turned his back on the rim to stare at the bench.

“A bet’s not official until you look a man in the eye,” he said.

The Lakers won a game. James won $100.

2.) James Harden’s postgame confession that he didn’t believe the Rockets’ situation can be fixed can directly be tied to the two straight losses to the Lakers, where it was clear that the two teams weren’t close.

One big reason? The Lakers’ on-court chemistry is miles ahead of where it probably should be.

“I feel like we have a team that’s willing to do whatever it takes to win. We’re not going to let limited practice times or us not being together for a long time be an excuse for not winning basketball games or not playing the right way,” forward Anthony Davis said. “We hold ourselves to a higher standard. We hold ourselves accountable for everything we do on the floor as a team. We’re still learning each other, but while we’re doing that, we want to win basketball games. And the last couple of games we’ve been playing, we’ve just been playing very hard, being in the right spots on both ends of the floor — and been able to execute a high level. Locked in to our schemes.

“The more we can do that, the more we can trust each other, it’s only going to be easier for us.”

3.) Just listen to Dennis Schroder talk about what he thinks about his new team.

“I’ve been on really, really good teams. I think in Atlanta my second year with really, really such great professionals, and we wrote history in Atlanta. Even in OKC, I had great teammates, great teams. I mean, but here in L.A., the organization, especially coaches, everybody [is] just having fun. I never have experienced something like that. We’re having fun, but at the same time, we know we got to be serious and we got to get to work. That’s what we’re doing,” Schroder said. “And I’ve never been a part of it like that before, and I’m glad. And I’m grateful that I’m on this team and this organization that I can go every night and go kick some ass, go out there and just play.

“And I think right now we’re still learning, we’re still a work in progress, but we can still get better and I think the last two games was great on the defensive end. We were running with pace, offensively with pace, sharing the ball, and it just can get better from here.”

4.) No one seemed too disappointed in the NBA strengthening its health and safety protocols. A big part of the reason why is that so many players are already dealing with those rules while at home in Los Angeles.

I asked LeBron James about the rules and about the possibility of Bubble 2.0. Here’s what he said:

“The bubble was a success from a performance standpoint as far as our league getting back going. You know, I haven’t thought about the bubble much after I left. Once again, Dan, you continue to give me PTSD every time you ask me about the bubble, I start shaking and start thinking about 96 straight nights in that place,” James said with a smile. “But for us, you know, I think for our team, we live in L.A. County. So, pretty much the new protocols and the things that came out today is pretty much everything we’ve been doing since March of last year, so not too much has changed on our landscape for us as a ballclub or us as a team or a franchise.

“So it doesn’t change too much for us. Obviously, if any of you guys live in L.A. County, most of you guys do, that’s our beat team, but it’s pretty much standard for us anyway, so it’s easy for us to go about the new protocol in any way, shape or fashion.”

5.) The Lakers won’t be full strength in Oklahoma City on Wednesday night.

Wesley Matthews (Achilles) will sit, an MRI exam showing “nothing major.” Davis will be questionable after jamming the big toe on his left foot.

X-rays postgame were negative.