The Lakers improved to 19-3 behind a big effort from their two stars Anthony Davis and LeBron James. Davis finished with 26 points on 9 of 11 shooting, grabbing six rebounds and swatting three blocks. James collected 20 points, 12 assists and four rebounds.
The major bonus for the Lakers was that neither star played more than 30 minutes. Davis played a season-low 26, while LeBron logged 29.
But despite not having to play deep into the matchup against Jazz, James was on the court in the fourth quarter. He wandered onto the court with no shoes while watching one of the Lakers defensive possessions and put himself nearly in good position for a rebound.
“Look at LeBron, he’s on the court,” the Jazz announcers said. “With no shoes… that’s some disrespect right there.”
Sure, maybe LeBron should have been given a technical, or at least some kind of warning. But the big support for one another has been a key ingredient in the Lakers success.
“We knew we had to bring energy,” James told reporters after the game. “Even with a back-to-back, we still got to have energy and we got to push the pace. We’re very good when we get stops and we run. … It’s very important for us to push the pace, but it starts with our defense and we got defensive stops.”
Also, for those wondering why LeBron was in socks, he gave his shoes away to a kid in the stands after hitting the bench.
LeBron James Explains Bizarre No-Call on Travel
The shoe-less wandering wasn’t the only thing that caught the ire of Jazz supporters on Wednesday. While coming up the court, James picked up his dribble, took 3-and-a-half steps and dribbled again before passing the ball.
Bojan Bogdanovic was left stunned, waving his hands.
James called it a “malfunction” and showed some remorse after the game, even overreacting a bit.
“It was the worst thing, probably one of the worst things I’ve ever done in my career,” James told reporters from the locker room. “I was watching the underneath play, and KCP and Donovan got into it. KCP started to run, and Donovan bumped into him, he fell on the ground. I think I was ready to pass the ball, and my brain just kind of just, I had a malfunction. I really had a malfunction.”
Lakers Continue Tough Road Trip Against Trail Blazers
Much of the criticism of the Lakers strong star was the classic “they haven’t played anyone” argument. Well, in back to back games they’ve knocked off two Western Conference contenders in the Nuggets and Jazz, with the Portland Trail Blazers on deck next.
Veteran Jared Dudley took to Twitter to call out those who were nitpicking.
“Have we still not played anybody good yet?????” he wrote.
The Lakers have a day off before playing Portland, who have won four out of their last five. It will also be a long overdue reunion on the court for James and his good friend Carmelo Anthony, who was recently signed by the Blazers.
“We’ve got a good team,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “We have high aspirations. We’re trying to keep a game-to-game, stay-in-the-moment focus throughout the year.”