LeBron James is currently playing in his 10th NBA Finals, he’s seen pretty much everything at this point in his career. It was no shock to see that he and the entire Los Angeles Lakers team seemed so ready for the moment during Game 1 of the NBA Finals. However, there was a turning point for LeBron during the playoffs this year that only people in the NBA Bubble noticed.
On the daily Locked On NBA Podcast, host Ben Golliver (Washington Post) and Nick Angstadt (Locked On Mavericks) discussed the Lakers’ big win in Game 1 and how LeBron James changed his demeanor during the playoffs.
Ben Golliver: I want to make this point on LeBron James because his demeanor changed midway through the Houston series. It was just palpable, I could tell his focus went to a different level, he could just start to see the water parting. He realized that Milwaukee was in trouble. He realized the Clippers were maybe faltering a little bit. He realized that Houston, which was supposed to be a real Finals threat, they had no shot. He started cranking it up right there at that moment. If you fast forward to the end of the Western Conference Finals, he’s doing a lot of deep breathing and meditation exercises. He’s really locked in and focused before the game in a way that he hadn’t been previously.
I’m sure you saw this story, he told Chris Haynes of Yahoo that he basically called his shot before Game 5 and said he was going to end that series right there. He’s just been on an absolute tear since midway through that Houston series from a mental standpoint, controlling the game, manipulating everybody on the court, and then obviously leading the Lakers off the court. So to me, it’s a perfect scenario for Anthony Davis to thrive. And that’s how it was supposed to be. That was the blueprint even before they came together. That was the whole concept and it’s playing out exactly to a tee right now.