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LeBron & Lakers Leverage Fast Break to Come Back vs Denver

The last time these two faced each other was in the bubble at the 2020 NBA Playoffs Conference Finals. Tonight’s match was a battle just like back in October, it was deep bench vs. deep bench.

A mic’d up Frank Vogel was heard throughout the game stressing one crucial strategy, “pace and paint.” “Our pace is what’s going to knock them out,” is what he said to his team with around six minutes left to play, and “We do not want to foul right now, we do not want to slow it down.” The team listened to their head coach and in the fourth quarter only had five fouls. The Purple and Gold stayed disciplined in the last 12 as they had faced a deficit for much of the game.

Discipline took shape in many forms tonight.

In his 18th year, following the 12,682nd bucket of his career, LeBron James (27 pts, 10 ast, 10 reb) passed the legendary Wilt Chamberlain for 3rd-most made field goals in league history. King James said of the accomplishment, “Anytime I'm in the category, name, or the likes of the greats in this game, it’s very humbling.”

It was also LeBron’s second triple-double of the season and his 800th 25+ point game in the league. Take a moment and think about that. LeBron threw frequent 31-yard passes tonight. And it seems has quarterback-esque passes have rubbed off on many of his teammates because the Lakers' fast-break points were 25 to Denver’s 12.

The team’s fast-break efforts at the end of the third were smoking hot and garnered them their biggest lead of the night heading into the fourth. “That’s Lakers Basketball,” Coach V said. The acceleration was steady until the close, the drivers included Dennis Schröder (21 pts) and Talen Horton-Tucker (17 pts). Energetically speaking, these two don’t save anything, they expel every ounce of power and effort in the minutes they’re given.

Special shout out to Kyle Kuzma (11 pts, 2 blk). His play has evolved into a consistent defensive dexterity. Kuz is especially perceptive of the small defensive needs of his team. Whether it be an all-out sprint and block around the arc or a double team under the rim, his attention to detail serves his teammates well.

After shooting 70% in the second half, the Lakers have won their third straight and have now tied the Clippers for No. 2 in the West. The Lake Show will face the Detroit Pistons on Saturday in a rematch where they’re looking to snag the win this time around.