The Los Angeles Lakers are in a decent spot heading into their last few games of the year. They made some major changes to the roster at this season’s trade deadline, and ever since then, they have been playing much better basketball.
After falling to the Chicago Bulls on Sunday afternoon, they got their revenge on Wednesday night, taking down the same Bulls squad. After the game, LeBron James was discussing the Lakers’ defensive versatility and shouted out Jarred Vanderbilt in the process.
“I think the number one thing is that we have multiple ball handlers,” James said via the NBA Interviews YouTube channel. “So, no one has to feel like they need to handle the ball every possession. We got shot-makers that’s our lineup. And we have a lot of length. Myself, Vando [Vanderbilt], obviously AR [Austin Reaves], and AD [Anthony Davis], obviously, at the rim. So, I mean, D-Lo [D’Angelo Russell] is actually pretty long as well. So, it gives us a lot to do defensively as well.”
Against the Bulls on Wednesday night, Vanderbilt put up some decent stats. He ended the game with eight points, seven rebounds, two assists, and one steal on 3-of-5 shooting from the field and 2-of-3 shooting from behind the three-point line.
As for James, he returned to the starting lineup for the first time since before his injury. The Lakers superstar finished the night with 25 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and two steals on 10-of-19 shooting from the floor and 1-of-3 shooting from deep.
LeBron James Praises Anthony Davis
While both James and Vanderbilt both played well against the Bulls, it was Anthony Davis who led the way on the offensive end for the Lakers. After the game, James showed serious love to Davis for his performance.
“He’s one of the most dynamic players that we have in our league, especially when he’s shooting the ball like that,” James said via the NBA Interviews YouTube channel. “Especially from the perimeter. He was able to knock down to three, too, to kind of open up the space. It just makes him even more unguardable. And then it just helps the rest of the team. And for us, as the supporting cast, we just try to do our part. Try to find him. Early and often. Late and often. Go from there.”’
That being said, he also said he sometimes has to remind Davis how great he can be.
“He always plays like that,” James said. “I just got to kick him in the a** every now and then. But he always plays like that, so I never worry about him.”
D’Angelo Russell Sounds Off on Austin Reaves
Meanwhile, D’Angelo Russell spoke about the synergy between himself, Austin Reaves, Davis, and James.
“I mean, as I said earlier, if you can dominate the game from a lot of different areas and have that versatility. I mean, I don’t know if you can name anything Austin Reaves can’t really do on the offensive end,” Russell said via the NBA Interviews YouTube channel. “He dominates the game. And myself, I try to do the same. So, when you got us next to those two guys out there, the game’s just super simple. We got off to a great start, and you can kind of get a taste of it. AD had 40 points, and Bron [on a] minute restriction, like it was just easy. It never felt like we were stressing. The offense never really felt like it wasn’t fluid. So, I give the credit to the guys that we’re around.”