The Los Angeles Lakers had a much-needed win against the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night at Staples Center. There have been calls for the fire of head coach Frank Vogel due to the early struggles of the team, but it seems like he is finding the right fit, and the Lakers are starting to play better as a group.
LeBron James, who is expected to lead the team to victories every other night in his 19th season, has received huge praise from Vogel. LeBron James' effort defensively stood out for Vogel, who made sure to credit the captain post-game. According to Lakers beat reporter Mike Trudell, Vogel said:
"LeBron is fantastic on both sides of the ball. He sets the tone for us with his voice. He’s our QB on both sides of the ball. Defensively, he’s barking out commands, getting guys in the right spots, and knowing our schemes down to a tee better than anyone on the floor.”
The Lakers, who finished as the No. 1 ranked team in defensive rating last season, have been poor defensively so far. They are currently ranked 14th with a 108.5 defensive rating, which is why Vogel also commended the team for limiting the Celtics, who ranked 2nd in offensive rating over the past 10 ten games. In the post-game presser, he said:
"Very proud of the defensive performance tonight."
One area that has crippled the Lakers' defense is turning to the double-team in most possessions, resulting in them scrambling with good ball movement from the opposition. They gave up too many open looks with that system, but Vogel said that they are working on limiting that and having every player take responsibility in guarding his man.
Added to his defensive presence, LeBron recorded 30 points, 4 rebounds, and 5 assists. It is clear that LeBron is the key to this group's efficiency, but consistency has been a factor as the four-time NBA champ has not played four consecutive games since the start of this season.