The Los Angeles Lakers are engaged in a vital NBA In-Season Tournament matchup against the New Orleans Pelicans. LeBron James is on a mission to help the Lakers to victory for the chance at bragging rights and a $500,000 prize. James appears to be locked in after he duplicated a rare defensive feat not seen since 2013.
LeBron James and the Lakers are determined to advance to the In-Season Tournament Finals
The Lakers veteran took three charges in the first half of the Los Angeles-New Orleans game. James had just three charges on the entire season before the matchup. This is the second time the legend has taken three changes in a single game since the 2013-14 season when the metric began being tracked, per Andrew Lopez (h/t Second Spectrum).
James and the Lakers are indeed on a mission. LA built a 30-point lead on the Pelicans near the end of the third quarter. By this point, James amassed an incredible 30 points, eight assists, and five rebounds. In addition, Anthony Davis had a double-double.
The Pelicans cannot seem to get anything to drop, particularly beyond the art. New Orleans shot roughly 28% on three-pointers as the third quarter came to a close. The team expected Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram to have a greater impact on the game, but LA has played stifling defense.
Although the $500,000 prize is enticing, the Lakers' motivation for winning goes beyond money. The Lakers lost in the 2023 Western Conference finals. Thus, the team wants to make it to the postseason and win the 2024 NBA Championship.
Naturally, LA will not stop marching until their goal is achieved. Can the Lakers hang on and close the deal against New Orleans?