The Lakers are one game away from making the NBA finals for the first time in 10 years, and one of the biggest reasons for the success of the team in the season is the defense.
LeBron James has played great defense since the first game of the season and has maintained the tone in the bubble.
Let’s go through some of the great defensive plays by LeBron in the bubble.
In the first game since returning to play, the Lakers face the Clippers. In that game, we probably saw the best defensive play of the season from the Lakers, when in the last possession up 2 LeBron locked up both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
That night both George and Leonard combined for 58 points but were unable to get the win after James forced Leonard to pass the ball and made George shoot and uncomfortable threes.
Now, in the second round of the playoffs, LeBron went off with the blocks. He had three games with multiple blocks against Houston, showing that he is still a great defender in year 17.
Here is a compilation of 3 blocks against former MVP Russel Westbrook.
Finally, in the Western Conference finals against the Denver Nuggets, LeBron took the challenge of defending the red hot Jamal Murray.
Frank Vogel on LeBron's defense on Jamal Murray in the clutch.
"LeBron asked for the assignment and obviously I granted it. He did a great job down the stretch… Nothing was really working to slow him down until LeBron took that assignment, so game ball to him."
— Harrison Faigen (@hmfaigen) September 25, 2020
This shows LeBron’s mentality for this playoffs, willing to take any challenge to win. Guarding a guard is never an easy task for a forward, especially when he is more than 10 years younger than you.
James didn’t only take the assignment but he made the difference, as he shut down Murray in a couple of big possessions down the stretch.
LeBron James has been situationally a great defender, and this is just what the Lakers needed.
In year 17 James is still making the biggest difference in the court, both offensively and defensively, and it may be the reason why the Lakers will leave a legacy this season.
Featured Image: Andrew D. Bernstein/Getty