(Joseph Sherman/Los Angeles Lakers)
James, Davis Lead Offensive Eruption in Preseason Win
LOS ANGELES – Safe to say LeBron James and Anthony Davis are ready.
The Lakers’ dynamic duo put on a show Wednesday night against a short-handed Warriors team, leading the purple and gold to a 33-point win.
James was particularly impressive and seemed to use the game as a dress rehearsal for Opening Night – six days away vs. the Clippers.
The Akron native took just 9 shots in 25 minutes but dominated the game from tipoff until he checked out for good midway through the third period. James finished scored 18 points and set the tone with 11 assists, including a no-look fling to Danny Green that brought the crowd to its feet.
“It started with AD’s outlet to me in the middle while I was streaking,” James recounted. “I’d seen Danny and I tried to just attack the rim until the last possible second and I was able to find him in the corner. J-Kidd told me all night to push the tempo, push the pace, and that’s just the result of it.”
LBJ’s teammates fed off of his generosity and the team finished with 33 assists on 49 made baskets, many of them open looks that allowed L.A. to shoot 50% from downtown and almost 60% overall.
And on the other side of the floor, the team was inspired by Davis’ intensity. The former Pelican was still seen diving for loose balls in the second half when the game was already virtually decided.
AD didn’t have his best scoring night, yet still finished just shy of a triple-double in his first game at STAPLES Center donning a Lakers jersey: 8 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists, with a steal and a pair of blocks for good measure.
His passing game was definitely on point:
“It starts with me and Bron, coming out with great defensive intensity and turning defense into offense”, Davis said.
LOTS OF COOKS IN THE KITCHEN
With the possible exception of Rajon Rondo (rest) and Kyle Kuzma (left foot stress reaction), Vogel played all of his rotation guys during the first 2 1/2 quarters of the game, providing a glimpse of the way he’s leaning heading into the regular season.
And boy did they look good. Quinn Cook, making his Lakers debut, led the bench in scoring with 16 points. After dealing with a sore left calf during most of training camp and preseason, the former Warrior impressed in his 15 minutes on the floor, going 4-for-5 from three.
Avery Bradley was also impressive as the fifth Beatle in the starting lineup, playing his 3-and-D role to perfection. The veteran had 18 points (7-9 from field and 4-5 from beyond the arc).
And at the center position, JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard combined for 25 points and 13 boards in about the same amount of minutes, continuing their successful timeshare.
“We have a lot of great players”, Davis noted. “We find those guys, they make shots. We have bigs who we can throw it up to and guards who can shot the ball.”
The Lakers play the Warriors one final time on Friday before the games truly starting counting. James liked what he saw, but admitted it’s all still a work in progress.
“We have a couple of days to continue to tweak things,” he said. “The regular season does start on Tuesday, but we won’t be the team we want to be on Tuesday. We want to continue to be as great as we every single game, see what happens on Tuesday, and keep building from there.”
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