The No. 7 seed Lakers struggled offensively, as none of their players managed to reach 20 points in the game. The team was led in scoring by LeBron James with 18 points. However, he looked tentative throughout the game, especially when attacking the rim.
As a result, one former teammate insinuated that James must assert his dominance in the matchup against close friend Chris Paul.
Yes AD needs to play better… but Lakers need Lebron to look at Chris Paul the same way he use to look at Steph during those Finals matchups. 📠📠📠📠📠📠📠📠📠📠📠📠 pic.twitter.com/Gs3MrykrUk
— Richard Jefferson (@Rjeff24) May 24, 2021
James faced Stephen Curry and the Warriors in the NBA Finals for four consecutive years from 2015 to 2018. In those series, the four-time MVP always brought his best. Moreover, he often managed to impose his will physically during those matchups.
The circumstances are different now. Not only is this the first round, but James is also coming back from an ankle injury that caused him to miss 26 of the Lakers’ final 30 regular season games.
James needs help on offense from his teammates as he gets his wind back. Los Angeles would also have to find answers against Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton, both of whom played extremely well in their playoff debuts over the weekend.