After subjecting himself to wide-spread criticism, LeBron James laid the media focal point to rest and made it clear he will no longer discuss the NBA/China controversy. With the distraction in James’ rear-view mirror, the Los Angeles Lakers returned to the court for a preseason tilt against the Golden State Warriors. The new-look team came out victorious, winning by a score of 126-92 in front of almost 19,000 screaming fans at the Staples Center.
James led the way for the Lakers. Establishing his new identity as the team’s play-maker, the forward dished out 11 assists, including a wild, no-look pass to perimeter player Danny Green. For the game, LeBron finished with 18 points. Recently acquired forward Anthony Davis also contributed a well rounded performance. The All-Star nearly had a triple-double, scoring eight points to go along with eight assists and ten rebounds.
Four other Lakers scored in double digits, including centers Dwight Howard (13) and JaVal McGee (12).
Lakers’ coach Frank Vogel was happy with balanced performance from both his star players, James and Davis, as well as the rest of the team. According to ESPN, he said “It doesn’t have to always go through LeBron like it has with teams past, and it doesn’t always have to go through AD. Quite frankly, even when those guys are out, I love the role players that we have and their ability to carry the load as well. Whether it’s having two lob threats, and playing the spread game. We’ve got a number of shooters out there that can make you pay when we force help, and there’s a lot of experience on our club, so hopefully the usage and workload will be spread out.”
The Warriors were without Stephen Curry, who did not play because of non-injury related reasons. In the star-guard’s absence, the Warriors’ offense leaned heavily on recently-acquired D’angelo Russell who had 23 points on 8 of 17 shooting, including 3 for 8 from three point range. Forward Draymond Green also chipped in ten points for the ‘Dubs.
Both teams are set to meet four times during the upcoming regular season, with the first matchup coming Nov. 13 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Header Photo Credit: Los Angeles Times