LeBron James lauds Lakers defence after 20-block display against Pistons
LeBron James has hailed the Los Angeles Lakers' defence after the team made 20 blocks in Sunday's 106-99 victory over the Detroit Pistons.
James starred offensively with 21 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists, although it was the defence that claimed the headlines as they made more blocks than any other NBA team since March 2001.
Their tally of blocks was one shy of the Lakers' franchise record, and James insisted Dwight Howard, Anthony Davis and JaVale McGee made it easy for him to run the show offensively.
"I think it's an unbelievable, remarkable feat. They make it easy on us," James told reporters in the Lakers' locker room when asked about the team's defensive display.
"We try to contain these small, quick guards and attackers. To know that you have that safety net behind you is a hell of a luxury.
"We can pressure up on a lot of guards. This is a three-point shooting league. You can get beat a lot in this league with three-point shots, so we just try to force them wide.
"I don't think [block shots] is an underrated stat. Any time you can protect the rim or someone can get back and make a block. Some of the greatest block-shotters have dominated the history of the game.
"We have one in Dwight who has done it through the course of his career, JaVale and obviously AD. When you have guys who are able to change the trajectory of the shot and also either block the shot or make guards or forwards change their shot, it's key to the defence.
"When we acquired AD and when we re-signed JeVale we knew we'd be able to impact a lot of shots. When we acquired Dwight we knew we'd be able to add even more, so we know we can do certain things offensively that other teams can't because of the protection we have. We just try to take advantage of it."
AD on his game-high 8 block performance against the Pistons pic.twitter.com/EPFMVFoUqt— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) January 6, 2020
"Obviously it was a huge factor in the game," Lakers head coach Frank Vogel told a news conference.
"Our three big guys just played exceptional basketball. I think we as a group were not happy about giving up 68 points on the paint against the Pelicans. Those guys took a lot of pride in protecting our rim, 20 points is pretty special, the guys did a great job."
The Lakers lead the Western conference with a 29-7 record for the season.