LeBron and Lakers’ Second Unit Steal Show vs. Memphis

(1/3/21)
by Taylor Geas

A consistent element in the Lakers’ Sunday afternoon showdown vs the Grizzlies was the reoccurring lead change. But the Lake Show found a way to make the game theirs in the fourth quarter. The team walked away with the W, 108-94.

The Lakers came out with a strong start, but the tone shifted toward the end of the first quarter and the guys were behind until just before the half. Today’s win marks their fifth of the season. In total, the new squad has played seven games together. And much of their performance today was that of a team that’s still getting to know each other. Even so, this team finds a way to walk away with the win because of their innate chemistry and an all-encompassing will.

The road to victory this Sunday was paved by LeBron James (22 pts, 13 reb, 8 ast). The King was sharp from the beginning, but it was his fourth-quarter performance that took the team home. LBJ echoed these sentiments postgame stating, “We were doing a lot of jostlin’ with Memphis tonight,” and so at the start of the fourth he said, “I went more into attack mode.” That’s what you call a quarter complete with fast break drives and a logo triple.

LeBron gave credit to the crew coming off the bench. He said postgame that their “energy is infectious.”

The Lakers' second unit accounted for 40 points tonight. Frank Vogel said of the squad postgame, “The great thing about our team is our depth and our ability to handle a couple of our guys being out. Wesley, Talen, Trez, and Keef really gave us a lift off the bench.”

It appears Montrezl Harrell (16 pts, 9 reb) has not taken a breath since his Lakers debut. Trez does the little things and he does them contest after contest. Coach Vogel talked highly of No. 15 after the game stating, “You have to honor everything he does on the offensive end.” Harrell continuously brought an offensive spark as the lead went back and forth between teams.

Frank went on to say, “He has defensive determination and fight as well. He did a great job not only rebounding the ball defensively but boxing out.” Frank explained, “He let the guards come back and grab the rebounds, while he’s doing the dirty work.”

On the topic of the second unit, Wesley Matthews (14 pts) has been huge on this road trip. He has sharpened the Lakers’ offensive edge tremendously. And when asked postgame about the benches’ identity Wesley said, “Our job coming off the bench is to extend the lead or cut the deficit. That's always been the identity of every great team.”

Overall, with their new members, the Lakers are still working to find their groove. But when it comes to their identity it’s clear they are a team that strives for greatness and works diligently to “win in all facets,” as LeBron puts it.

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