The Celtics are a certainty at this point, the Sixers a great promise, the Bucks an attempt to be (they need it) anything else, the Clippers an incomplete but obvious threat and the Nets a possible empire that cannot be imagined gray, will be a radiant white or an abysmal black. While all that is put in order, while I settleThey give the hierarchies of a season in which the pandemic conditions almost all analyzes, the Lakers march with an imperial rhythm. From a happy champion, from a favorite without debates, from an excess team. Right now, it’s like this. With a defense that is the best in the NBA without forcing, with small sections in which they devour the rivals, basically how and when they feel like it. And with an attack to which they have added weapons to give it a capacity of five against five that goes much further than last year. And that it no longer depends (not to such a degree) on Anthony Davis and LeBron James, who continue to dose efforts and minutes. And the Lakers, without going up gears, are 11-3 after having started 2-2. They are now five victories in a row, nine in ten games.
The Pelicans (112-95 final) also fell under their own weight as soon as the champion put some interest in the game. The Lakers have not beaten (0-5 now) since the transfer of Anthony Davis. There is no symbolic victory against the escaped star. There is no show for exes (Ingram, Lonzo, Hart…) there is no shout to heaven for Zion Williamson against LeBron James. The narratives that are carried so much now, things from social networks, pass away each time both teams face each other. Not only are the Angelenos better, they are also an especially tough opponent to the Pelicans because of their zone muscle and their ability to keep Zion and Brandon Ingram out of comfort. In 4-7, it does not seem the year of the take-off of those from Louisiana, who are off the hook in the West and the pieces of a promising but complicated puzzle do not quite fit together. In LA (they were coming off losing to the Clippers) they haven’t had Lonzo Ball and Eric Bledsoe. But their problems go further. Stan Van Gundy struggles to fix a defense that last season was too porous. Meanwhile, the attack is very inefficient, with labyrinthine sections, few regular troops and the feeling that Ingram and Zion alternate hot streaks in which they disconnect from each other.
The Pelicans had fun for a few minutes while the Lakers yawned: 7-14, 9-20, 14-28… until a 30-45 midway through the second quarter which was followed by the first blow to the Lakers alarm clock (41-45). In the third quarter it went from 67-70 to 82-70 and in the last one, from 84-79 to 108-83, partial of 24-4 in just over six minutes of a game that ended as soon as the champion wanted. A little defense, a little circulation, a little LeBron James Davis and a choral contribution from the others (Schroder, Caldwell-Pope, Kuzma, Harrell, Caruso…). The Pelicans finished with 20 losses, the Lakers with 11 steals and 31 assists. The locals made six more triples (15/37 by 9/29) and added 15 more points (19-4) from the personnel line. There’s not much to add: as soon as they felt like it, the Lakers took a 25-point lead after conceding -14. So basic.
LeBron returned to play less than 31 minutes and finished with 21 points, 8 rebounds and 11 assists. Davis did not get angry with his exes (17 + 6 + 5, 3 steals, 3 blocks …), Caldwell-Pope had fantastic sections again (16 points, 4/6 in triples), Harrell was pure efficiency (16 points, 8 / 10 shooting), Kuzma put in dirty work (11 + 13), Schröder electricity and Caruso was the same defender heavy usual in a season where he’s teaching a shot in catch and shoot increasingly dangerous (3/3 in triples this time, 9 points and 4 assists). Right now, it’s that simple Lakers games are over as soon as the Lakers want: 16.6 points of average advantage in these five consecutive wins, and that with looooong minutes from the garbage. The champion rules the NBA with an iron fist. Right now, there is no more.
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Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.