LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers were able to pick up a win in one of his old stomping grounds on Friday night. The Lakers took down the Miami Heat, 113-110, in part due to a productive evening from James. He saw 37 minutes of action and went for 28 points, 12 rebounds, and eight assists.
It looked like it could have been a pretty tough evening for James with how things went in the first half — the four-time league MVP scored 11 points on 4-for-11 shooting and had seven of his eight turnovers during the game’s first 24 minutes. As he explained after the game, he was able to have a monster turnaround in the second half thanks to his teammates.
James praised a pair of dudes, Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, for how they motivated him to play better by being critical of his approach early on.
“My teammates got on my ass,” James told ESPN. “They told me you’re playing too passive, thinking about the game way too much instead of read and reacting and doing what you do. … [Davis] got on me, Boogie Cousins got on me and they told me to just be me. So I was like, ‘Thank god we have two halves in a basketball game,’ where I can flush the first one and then come back and try to help us win.”
Between James’ second half performance and the fact that the Lakers came out and outscored a good Heat side by 11 points in the third quarter, the words of encouragement (or whatever they were) by Cousins and Davis seemed to have worked out pretty well. In fact, Davis praised James for how he accepted some critiques of his game.
“We all have respect for each other and have the confidence to go up to whoever and try to get them going,” Davis said. “The fact that he listens and everybody on the team accepts constructive criticism from our guys is what makes us so good.”
To his credit, Davis also had one hell of a game. The big man had team-highs in points (33) and rebounds (10), and while he only had one assist during the game, he picked up a second one at the half that ended up being pretty important.