LeBron James has definitely experienced some low lights on the big stage, but he has also captivated fans with some masterful big-game efforts. His Los Angeles Lakers teammate, D'Angelo Russell, cannot understand how the 38-year-old and four-time champion continues to level up when the stakes are higher.
The dominance James displayed in the NBA In-Season Tournament Semifinals versus the New Orleans Pelicans, which included 30 points and 4-of-4 shooting from downtown, left Russell even more stumped. “It’s impressive to watch him turn it to another gear,” he said, according to Spectrum SportsNet's Mike Trudell. “He can shoot it better, he’s faster, he’s not getting tired. I don’t even understand.”
Perhaps the biggest testament to James' next “gear” is his willingness to put his body on the line. He took a whopping three charges in the first half of Thursday night's matchup, as the determined Lakers smashed the Pelicans, 133-89. The historic blowout victory places LA in the finals of the NBA In-Season Tournament against the Indiana Pacers.
That will give James another opportunity to step up with something on the line. Though, Tyrese Haliburton and company are on a complete tear after vanquishing the top two teams in the Eastern Conference in the last four days. A collective effort is needed if the Lakers are going to derail this blistering train Saturday night in the T-Mobile Arena.
D'Angelo Russell added 14 points himself in the semis and could be an X-factor in the championship round. That is, if he does not find himself perplexed by LeBron James again.