Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James played his worst half of basketball this season against the Miami Heat on Friday, piling up turnovers and shooting a poor percentage on the field.
As the Lakers hit the locker room facing a eight-point deficit, his teammates let him know about his poor play, giving the four-time NBA MVP some advice on how to turn it around.
“My teammates got on my ass,” James told ESPN after the win. “They told me you’re playing too passive, thinking about the game way too much instead of read and reacting and doing what you do. … [Anthony Davis] got on me, Boogie Cousins got on me, and they told me to just be me. So I was like, ‘Thank God we have two halves in a basketball game,’ where I can flush the first one and then come back and try to help us win.”
Being able to listen to Cousins and Davis shows the massive amount of respect James is showing his teammates and that even The King can be put in check in the right situation.
“We all have respect for each other and have the confidence to go up to whoever and try to get them going,” Davis told reporters. “The fact that he listens and everybody on the team accepts constructive criticism from our guys is what makes us so good.”
After seven first-half turnovers, James committed just one more and finished the game with 28 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds to help the Lakers move to 23-3.
“In the second half, I got back to myself, playing my game, and we all fed off of JaVale [McGee]. Especially in that third quarter, he was blocking everything at the rim,” James told ESPN. “AD got it going. Danny [Green] got it going, [Kentavious Caldwell-Pope too], and I wanted to fill in and just try to help us close that gap, and we did that.”
Frank Vogel Impressed With Lakers Winning Multiple Ways
The Lakers have had an week. They put on an offensive display against the Timberwolves last Sunday, posting a season-high 142 points.
The next night, they grinded out a 96-87 victory against the Magic and the win against the Heat took a full team-effort with against one of the Eastern Conference’s better teams.
That kind of versatility has head coach Frank Vogel excited.
“What I love about this win is that we can win in a variety of different ways. Last game we scored 140 points and were able to secure that victory in a different style of game,” Vogel said this week. “This one was more of a grind-it-out game and our defense held up and we won scoring 96 points. I love our versatility.”
Lakers Bigs Playing at ‘All-Star’ Level
A big part of the Lakers’ success this season has been role players thriving, most notably the bigs Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee.
The duo have combined to put up 14 points, 13.2 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in just over 36 minutes per game this season. They came up big against the Heat as well, helping the Lakers pull out the victory.
“Our bigs were great,” Vogel said, commending both Howard and McGee for keeping possessions alive. “They’re a tag team.”
Vogel said the pair combined are providing “All-Star production.”
“Their chemistry together has been a big part in our early season success. Their willingness to accept the role that’s been laid out for them,” Vogel said, via Spectrum SportsNet. “Both of them are in a little bit unique roles, and they come in as a tag team and give us All-Star production at the center position between the two of them.
“That’s just part of what we’re trying to preach with this group… Those two supporting each other the way they are is a big part of our success this season.”
Next of for the Lakers is the third game of an East Coast swing against the Atlanta Hawks. Kyle Kuzma has already been listed as out and James is questionable with an elbow injury.