Portland Trail Blazers spoilt Lebron James’ debut as a Laker with a 128-119 victory.
Donned in fresh purple and gold, Lebron James was still as dominant on the court as before, posting up 26 points, 12 rebounds and six assists in 37 minutes.
The former league MVP joined a new look Lakers that includes veterans JaVale McGee, Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson and the young core of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart.
The chemistry however, was lacking in the team. With Rajon Rondo leading the field during the first half, James eventually took over the point forward position, and was as his usual self dishing out defense splitting passes to get everyone involved with the game. At this point, the gaps within the team were clearly visible.
No one from the starters were knocking down from the perimeter, ending the night a miserable seven out of 30 from beyond the arc. Josh Hart hit three of five, and both James and Ingram missed for a combined eight attempts.
Image by Lake Show Life
James has worked best with four perimeter players, who can space the floor, evident with his time in Cleveland. It is no secret he needs space for his thunderous drives to the basket or a kick out to an open player for the three.
“It’s not instant oatmeal. It’s not that fast,” James said. “It takes some time to get that chemistry where you can just close your eyes and know exactly where guys are.”
On the other hand, Portland’s back court combination of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum proved that they were still among the top three guard duos in the Western Conference, with Lillard putting up 28 points. It was the surprise performance by new signing Nik Stauskas who went 5 of 8 from deep, putting up 24 points off the bench which had essentially bailed the team out from a possible loss.
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This also marks the Blazers’ historic 16th straight victory over the Lakers.
It is a disappointing trend for James, as this is his fourth debut loss in four teams.
In 2003, fresh out of high school as the number one draft pick, James put up 25 points, six rebounds, nine assists, four steals in his first NBA game against the Sacremento Kings. Finishing the season with a stat line of 20-5-5, James was the unanimous Rookie of the Year.
His debut for Miami was against Boston, and with similar numbers of 31 points, four rebounds, three assists, one steal, and two blocks, it was the disappointing performance of a prime Dwayne Wade who shot 3-16 from the field and Chris Bosh with 3-11 shooting which led to their demise. However. the superstar trio eventually made it to the finals where they lost to a Dirk Nowitzki inspired Dallas.
The long awaited return of James to Cleveland in 2014 saw yet another defeat, this time to the struggling New York Knicks. This time paired with the newly acquired Kevin Love and a future hall of famer in Kyrie Irving. The Cavaliers eventually made four straight finals appearance, winning in 2016.Leave a comment