"He Establishes The Vibe" Darvin Ham On LeBron James' Protecting Zion Williamson.

“He Establishes The Vibe” Darvin Ham On LeBron James’ Protecting Zion Williamson.


Darvin Ham On LeBron James’ Guarding Zion Williamson: “He Sets The Tone”

Head coach Darvin Ham heavily appreciated LeBron James’ defensive effort against Zion Williamson in the Lakers’ top-eight clinching win.

The Los Angeles Lakers picked up a 128-104 win over the New Orleans Pelicans to cement their spot in the Play-In Tournament as the No. 8 seed. A loss could have dropped the Lakers as low as No. 10, so this was a crucial win that head coach Darvin Ham believed was possible because of how LeBron James set the tone by guarding Zion Williamson.

“He sets the tone. Usually, it’s AD setting that tone, a couple of other guys. Taking on Zion is a huge challenge, that kid is a hell of a basketball player. The physicality he plays with, his athleticism, his ability to finish with either hand around the basket, constantly plays downhill, and it’s a huge challenge he took on. It sends a message to the rest of our team when a guy with Bron’s stature and his tenure steps up to defend a young superstar like that. No one else can make excuses. He set the base for our defense.”

LeBron had put up 28 points and a season-high 17 assists in the win. Fans were more worried when they saw Anthony Davis limping off the floor, which made them around the whole world hold their breath until an injury update confirmed his participation in the Play-In.

Zion Williamson struggled mightily all game, putting up just 12 points on a night the Pelicans needed his scoring. He shot 30.8% from the field as we saw glimpses of LeBron back in his defensive prime to stop the 24-year-old rising superstar.

LeBron James averaged 25.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 8.3 assists in unquestionably the greatest Year 21 season we have ever seen, making 71 appearances. While he can’t single-handedly carry his team to a top-four seed anymore, he’s still a winner provided he has the right pieces around him.

Lakers Eyeing Another Postseason Run

The Lakers have secured their spot in the 7-8 Play-In Tournament game, as they’ll be traveling to New Orleans to take on the Pelicans. The Lakers have a 3-1 season record against the Pelicans and match up really well.

The Pelicans were one of the hottest teams in the NBA through the winter before late-season injuries led to them dropping from No. 5 to No. 7 on the standings. They even credited a loss to the Lakers in the In-Season Tournament as being the turning point behind their season, so they’ll be extra motivated to ensure that they get past LA to secure the No. 7 seed.

Some fans have made a ludicrous suggestion that the Lakers should lose the game to the Pelicans anyway to avoid being on Denver’s side of the brackets. A win over the Pelicans means LA will face the Nuggets in Round 1, which would be the least ideal outcome for the purple and gold franchise.

If the Lakers lose to the Pels, they’ll have to face the winner of the Kings vs. Warriors Play-in game to see who secures the No. 8 seed. The final spot of the playoffs might bring a slight advantage, as the opponent is an inexperienced OKC Thunder squad, who the Lakers have beaten three times this season.

The Lakers and Pelicans play on 16 April, with the full playoff starting on April 21.

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