Lakers center Tyson Chandler on playing first game with LeBron James
LOS ANGELES – Before taking on the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night at the Staples Center, the team brought in a new veteran player to address a serious need in the frontcourt. The storied franchise agreed to terms with Tyson Chandler who was bought out of his contract by the Phoenix Suns.
Chandler only have a short time to get acclimated with his new team as head coach Luke Walton let it be known the newcomer would be playing against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday. The 36-year-old talked about the quick transition after the Lakers were able to get the best of Jimmy Butler and company in Los Angeles.
“It’s been a crazy 48 hours, but it was great,” Chandler said of his debut. “It was great to get the first win out the way, be out there, be a part [of the team], playing competitive basketball, and like you said, being able to help the team out I’ve watched my whole life. And get a dub.”
Along with going through the crazy process of changing teams in the span of a couple of days, Chandler also got to reunite with Team USA teammate, LeBron James. The one-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year talked about the experience of playing with LeBron and how it was similar to his time being teammates with Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks.
”Honestly, I can’t describe it,” Chandler said of playing with James. “It’s amazing. I haven’t played with a closer like that since Dirk. To have him close out games, I know how special he is on both ends. I just want to take pressure off him.”
James missed two late-game three-point attempts to close the door on the Timberwolves but was able to lean on his teammates to get by Minnesota, 114-110. LeBron finished the game one assist shy of a triple-double with 24 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists.
As for Chandler, his first game as a Laker was fairly decent as he ripped down nine rebounds and scored two points in 23 minutes off the bench. The Lakers will now head into another weekend with a back-to-back. The team will go on the road to face the division rival Sacramento Kings on Saturday followed by a game against the Atlanta Hawks back at home on Sunday.