LOS ANGELES – The Lakers remain undefeated in the In-Season Tournament with a dominating 32 point victory on Tuesday at home. From the get-go, it was energy, flow, and transition that got the Lakers out to an early double digit lead which then turned into a blowout by halftime.
The offense was led by a balanced effort with seven lakers in double figures and Anthony Davis leading the way with 26 points and 16 rebounds to go along with 2 steals. He was active on the boards, controlling within the offense, and dominant in the paint, which I am sure Laker fans have been waiting to see on a consistent basis.
Even though LeBron James didn’t have the scoring outburst we are used to seeing in this early part of the season, he had an efficient and effective statline. James finished with only 17 points, but a near triple double, tallying 7 rebounds and 9 assists.
The Lakers are now 9-6 and have won Group A in the In-Season Tournament to advance to the quarterfinals.
Here are my three takeaways:
James has now eclipsed the 39,000 point mark in his career and becomes the first player in NBA history to reach that mark. It is a bit of a coincidence that he did it at age 39 as well, not even a calendar year after breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabaar’s all-time scoring record.
What LeBron has done in his career is absolutely astounding, but for him to still be playing at an All-NBA level at his age is nothing short of spectacular. The most important piece about it is that this team has needed that type of production from him in this early portion of the season. But on Tuesday, the Lakers finally showed that they can let Lebron coast against the weaker opponents in the West.
This is exactly what I had envisioned from this Laker team before the season started and after the off-season moves that the front office put together. I always believed this team had enough talent to supplement Anthony Davis and Lebron James and allow them to coast throughout games.
On Tuesday, that is exactly what happened. Now granted, it was the Utah Jazz, who are in a bit of a rebuild stage in their organization’s plans, but it is still impressive. D’Angelo Russell poured in 20 points with great efficiency, Rui Hachimura came off the bench and added 12 points. Also, Christian Wood added 16 of his own points and Austin Reaves got back to scoring with 19 points off the bench as well.
The key point is the efficiency in which these guys shot the ball. Usually you see guys have jagged field goal percentages but against the Jazz it was precise shooting and excellent ball movement that got the team going and had them never look back.
Reddish has been a bit of a revelation thus far for the Lakers and earned himself a starting spot with his lockdown perimeter defense and solid three point shooting. Early in the game on Tuesday, Reddish left with what the team called “groin soreness.” Video showed Reddish walking pretty gingerly on his way to the locker room and he was ruled out for the remainder of the game.
Although Reddish seemed in good spirits as he returned on the sideline in his street clothes, there should be more tests and updates incoming, and we will have them for you as we get them.
The Lakers get right back to the action with a game on Wednesday against Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks. Tip-off in Los Angeles is set for 7:30 PM PST.