SACRAMENTO, California – The game has not yet begun, and LeBron James felt his headaches worried that he could only assume he was from the smoke surrounding the Sacrament Center and the foggy hovering in the gold center.
Smothering the smoke in the arena during the morning shooting of the team, James was not sure how the fire conditions, which are about 70 miles north of Sacramento, will affect Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday.
No Lakers of late is a team that seems to have learned to deal with the disadvantages. Or maybe they discover how to deal better with it.
The smoke fever in the Butte district of California fell into the center of Sacramento and was visible above the court in Golden 1 Center.
The veteran center had a direct impact on the Lakers defense and bounced just one day after arriving from Phoenix.
With the exception of perhaps the roundest first quarter that the Lakers have ever played, which has led to a terrible loss to Toronto Raptor last Sunday, the team has won four of the last five games. The Lakers put the brakes on the Sacramento Kings team that won seven of their past 10 games with an impressive 101-86 victory.
And for the first time in the still fresh period of James-Lakers, the Lakers reached .500.
It may seem like a significant advance because the Lakers (6-6) lost five of their first seven games and the sky felt like they were just over a week away.
The Lakers had already expected a potentially rocky start but no one accounted for Rajon Rondo and Brandon Ingram drawing more suspension games for the Houston Rockets quarrel just two matches in the season or Magic Johnson chiding Luke Walton after just seven games. Walton found himself in an upset over his safe job while Johnson did not go out and said his trainer was certain to forbid something drastic.
But after all turbulence, Lakers would approach 35,000 feet and "cruising altitude". Can things be stabilized? No doubt in the future there will be more drama for Lakers because it is LeBron and that is L.A. But this victory in the Sacrament was a definite sign of progress.
Do not look forward to the effort to defend. Just a few days ago, Johnson, the president of the Lakers Basketball Operations, expressed dissatisfaction by explaining that part of his encounter with Walton was because we were "the last in defense".
On Saturday, Lakers gave up 110 points in each of his first 11 games, linked to the longest run in the franchise history for the start of the season (1961-62). It is the longest line from any starting team season from 1983-84 Nuggets, according to ESPN statistics and information.
But faced with an improved Kings team number 109.0, Lakers sometimes managed to slow down the Sacrament and close the Kings in half. According to Second Spectrum, Walton's defense kept Sacramento at 24.7 percent of the half-time scoring, best of any team in any regular season or playing in the last five seasons.
|Lakers (rank)||Before October 30th||From October 30th|
|WL||2-5 (T-20)||4-1 (T-4)|
|Off. Eff.||113.0 (seven)||105.8 (18)|
|Def. Eff.||113.2 (23)||103.1 (5)|
|Opp. FTA rate||.292 (21)||.178 (1.)|
The Lakers have pointed out a restrictive fast spot in the last few days, and the team has heard the team.
"I have to go back to the transition, miss and make, dead balls, everything," James said. "I have to go back. But Aaron Fox is one of the fastest guards we got in our game, and are currently the first step. That's why we had a great emphasis on returning and putting more bodies in front of everyone.
"We stuck to the plan of the game in 48 minutes," James added. "And we did this late, and that resulted in victories."
Several factors contributed to Lakers' uptic gameplay. Their chemical formation seems to be now 12 matches in the season. Of course, young players like Ingram and Lonzo Ball still look like they are looking for their comfort zone with an improved list. Veterinarians such as Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Lance Stephenson are still struggling to adjust their changing gameplay time.
Lonzo Ball badly misses a short swimmer, jumper and 3-pointer.
But after agreeing with the lines and rotations, Walton gets a better feeling for which groups work best together, and they feel comfortable getting to feel each other more comfortable.
"We were just in sync," said Kyle Kuzma, who is getting easier in the initial setup and does not have to play as many security centers as possible. "We knew that the game plan and they all followed it, and we had mutual backs. There was times when I was in big with De & Aaron Fox and I knew Rondo was on the left and he gave me confidence Chemistry will help.
"It played in our buttocks, but we have to take it every day, game by game and I think that's what we do most of it and you can see it with a chemistry building."
Another important factor was adding center Tyson Chandler. Like the Magic Pass, you may not have seen the purchase of Chandler and signing with the Lakers coming – especially this early in the season. But the results so far have been brilliant.
It seems that Chandler is perfectly fit to what Lakers need – a backup center that does many of the things that JaVale McGee provides. He provides the patron protector, an option that is used by optical buns, bone sounds, championship experience, Rondo and James communication skills, and a soothing veteran presence in the dressing room.
Prior to Chandler's arrival, Walton had to go down with McGee on the bench putting Kuzma in the middle or lower bidder Johnathan Williams or go to a bit of a bitter Ivica Zubac. Now Chandler, who has grabbed 12 rebounds and helped limit Willie Cauley-Stein to 12 points and 12 rebounds in one game after helping to keep Karl-Anthony Towns 13 points and nine rebounds to win over Minnesota.
"He just raised our front court," James said. "We have an excellent 1-2 knockout in JaVale and Tyson, JaVale gives us so much to start a game with our ability to protect the hoop and to be so abusive, and when it comes out of the game, we have no drops, no drops, and Tyson comes and brings even greater intensity, and it's great to have on our front court. "
By limiting the Sacramento to 34.8 percent of the shooting and surpassing the Kings 52-38 in color, Lakers was supposed to quit in the fourth quarter for a double-digit lead. Although they had a 20-point pad cut off at 10 with 4:45 left, the Lakers never let it slide further. It was a step forward after having to keep up for a beloved life against Dallas Mavericks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Portland Trail Blazers in the previous three wins.
"Progress is," Walton said. "That's all I've been talking about because I was not able to win the game at first, but keep them close, then getting the leads and I can not stick to them, but find a way to win even at the end. held on that leader.
"We know we will never be a straight line where we are going. We will be working harder, but as long as we work as a team to improve, we'll be fine."
By the end of the game, Jacob's headache was passing and he could hear him laughing at Ball and talking with Ronda in the locker room.
Region Rondo pushes the ball upcourt and passes to Kyle Kuzma, who finishes fast break with the dunk.
With the resumption of Atlanta Hawks in Los Angeles for Lakers a second time from home to home, James knows that his team can not afford to fall into the trap that he does not appear early in the way he passed on Sunday under the same circumstances as Toronto.
But this team of Lakers plays better than a week ago. And that's the perfect cure for any James headache.
"The record will obviously speak for itself, but at the end of the day it's about how you play at that time," James said when he asked about Lakers who reached .500. "And right now, we play a good ball and challenging and defensive."