Los Angeles Lakers came tonight with different energy on the court, you can literally see that. And with that effort, they had a season-high total of 139 points.
The new year is a welcoming one for the Lakers are Frank Vogel returned to the sidelines after several weeks while Trevor Ariza too returned on the court.
“I’m in a damn good zone right now, and I just want to continue that as long as possible,” James summarized on Spectrum SportsNet after the game. “I’m just trying to do whatever it takes to help this team win, man.”
The first quarter was a high-scoring one as the hosts outscored the Blazers 43-28. The man of the moment was obvious, Lebron James, scoring the majority of the points for the Lakers.
The scoring pattern for the lakers continued but the Blazers tightened themselves up defensively. Also, the bench played half of the quarter so that too was the reason behind a rather less entertaining quarter.
The Lakers led the Blazers by 15 points going into the break. The hosts have been successful to do this in many matches but they haven’t been able to convert the matches. This time, however, was a different match and they held it firmly in their grasp.
James started his second match as center against a defense that is ranked as second-worst in the league.
Frank Vogel: “It’s easy to just throw smaller guys out there and expect it to work, but there’s a lot of details that go into executing on both sides of the ball to perform well with smaller lineups,” Vogel said. “Obviously we’re not where we want to be with the standings, but we believe in what we’re building, and we believe we have a chance to do something special this year. So just being a part of seeing that, the smaller lineups, and how that has grown and how to be effective with those is the biggest thing.”
Russell Westbrook secured an effortless triple-double with 15 points, 12 assists, and 13 rebounds. he was almost solely asked to attack a defense already on its heels. This is the way to use him.
Moreover, Malik Monk and Carmelo Anthony scored 18 and 16 points respectively.
For the visitors, it was Ben McLemore with 28 points while Lillard managed 18 points with seven assists. The use of Dennis Smith Jr. is not up to the mark and his talent is underrated at the Blazers.
The Lakers surge continued in the second half as well. The third quarter score was 32-23 in the favour of the hosts. While in the fourth quarter as well belonged to the Lakers with a 38-29 scoreline.
Ariza’s return and Stanley Johnson’s inclusion will strengthen the Lakers defensively and stabilize the attack a little bit. Both Ariza and Stanley can hit a three from a vacant position. Rumors of trading Rajon Rondo will free up a spot and that spot looked locked up by Stanley.