The playoffs have gotten off to an incredibly rough start for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. The Los Angeles Lakers guard was a big reason the team won a championship last season but he hasn’t been playing up to that level. In two games, he’s made one of 11 3-point attempts. Considering he finished the season shooting 41% from beyond the arc, those numbers simply aren’t good enough.
In Game 2, the Phoenix Suns were closing in on the Lakers’ lead. Caldwell-Pope had a wide-open three but hesitated before shooting it. He ended up missing for the fourth time of the night and didn’t score a single point in 30 minutes of playtime. With a little more than a minute left, cameras caught LeBron James pulling Caldwell-Pope to the side and aggressively told him, “I want you to shoot.” LeBron was clearly not subtle in his delivery.
The two men share an agent and have a strong relationship. No player likes getting called out by a teammate during a game but Caldwell-Pope made it clear that he appreciates LeBron’s leadership style and praised his teammate.
In his Instagram Stories, Caldwell-Pope shared an image of the moment posted on Twitter with the caption, “Brother 4Life,” along with several similar images and sentiments.
LeBron has developed into one of the best leaders in the NBA over the course of his career and his teammates clearly respect him. Not many players can do what he does without rubbing teammates the wrong way.
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Frank Vogel Praises Lakers Superstars
The playoffs got off to a rocky start for the Lakers as they dropped Game 1 to the Suns and didn’t look good in the process. They still had issues in Game 2 but the starters really stepped up, specifically LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The two scored a combined 57 points and played excellent defense. Head coach Frank Vogel believes the Lakers will go as far as their stars take them.
“Two of the top five players in the NBA,” Vogel said after the game. “And we have a formula where those guys really carry the biggest scoring load, especially at crunch time, and an army of defenders and finishers around them, whether it’s finishing at the 3-point line or at the rim.
“And it’s been a good formula so far, and those guys continue to show why they’re great players, by stepping up down the stretch.”
Anthony Davis Talks Win
A big concern surrounding the Lakers this season has been Anthony Davis’ play. He’s had a very uneven year and Game 1 represented one of his worst performances since joining the team as he only scored 13 points. He stepped up in a big way during Game 2. Even during his strong game, he knew the Lakers couldn’t underestimate the Suns.
“You never want to get too comfortable with these guys,” Davis said after the game. “They can score the ball very quickly. And we can too.
“Me and Bron were found at the end of the game, which the team is supposed to do. … And we were able to pull this one out.”
There’s a reason the Suns finished with the second-best record in the NBA and have a strong trio in Deandre Ayton, Devin Booker and Chris Paul. The Lakers may be back in the win column, but this series is far from over.