The Los Angeles Lakers haven’t looked like themselves in the bubble and fell to 2-4 in the bubble following another loss on Saturday, this time to the Pacers 116-111.
It’s a strange situation to be in for the Lakers, who have locked up the top seed in the Western Conference, but are still trying to integrate new pieces into the lineup, while also making sure stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis are at full strength for a playoff run.
Before breaking out with a 31-point game against the Pacers, James’ play was fairly pedestrian — at least by his standards — as the Lakers offense sputtered, failing to reach the 100-point mark twice. He also sat out nursing a sore groin for a game. James has been the subject of massive attention since he was a teen and admitted that it’s been different trying to find the energy on the court.
“I am getting more and more used to being out there. It’s a very weird dynamic. I haven’t played in an empty gym in a very, very long time,” James told reporters on Saturday. “It’s been a very long time since no one has been watching me play the game. I’m just trying to find that rhythm and lock in.
“The backdrop here is a lot different from from playing in high school gym or in a college arena where you kind of like play in the summertime or whatever the case may be,” James added of the new venue. “It’s very dark — extremely dark. And it’s like, literally you can hear a feather hit the ground.”
LeBron James Misses Playing With Fans
When the idea of playing without fans was being thrown around, James was not a fan. However, as the situation evolved, James loosened up on his take. Although he’ll admit — he misses the comfy confines of Staples Center.
“I definitely miss our fans,” James said. “I’m definitely missing being at the Staples Center with our fans, being on the road, going against fans that boo me, going to other games and like that, going to watch my son play and seeing the fans there. Fans are missed.
“I hope that someday the pandemic and COVID can get under wraps and we can take all the precautions that’s needed and we can get it figured out in America where we can get our fans back into arenas, and stadiums, and gyms, and things of that nature because I think it’s just huge for sports.”
Lakers Victim of Blown Call Against Pacers
The Lakers narrowly lost to the Pacers and a blown call down the stretch didn’t help their cause. The NBA admitted that the officials made an error not calling a foul on TJ Warren, who pushed off Anthony Davis for a crucial bucket.
While that’s not ideal, the Lakers should not be putting themselves in that position against a team like the Pacers, who are missing big man Domantas Sabonis and don’t have star guard Victor Oladipo at full strength.
The Lakers face the Nuggets and Kings in their final two seeding games. Then, things get interesting.
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