Doc Rivers was effusive in his praise for LeBron James ahead of the Sixers’ game against the Lakers at the Wells Fargo Center.
LeBron netted 22 points in a dominant first half performance. He was getting to the basket practically at will. Part of this was because of his physicality, but also because the refs were officiating him differently. They called an offensive foul on Embiid at the end of the half when James committed his biggest flop of the season.
But the Sixers’ overall performance was better. They were successful at stifling the Lakers’ supporting cast a whole lot better. AD and LeBron combined for 36 of the Lakers’ 51 points at halftime, which didn’t augur well for the team going ahead.
The Lakers were still favored by ESPN’s gamecast to win the game at halftime. But they’d have to execute their offense a lot better to make their job easier.
What Doc Rivers said about LeBron James ahead of the game
Rivers has previously called LeBron the GOAT, and he was no different in tonality today. Rivers said LeBron is now better at every aspect of the game than he was 5 years ago:
“He does everything better than he did five years ago when he supposedly was in his prime. He’ll go down as one of the greatest passers to ever play the game.”
#Sixers coach Doc Rivers on #Lakers star LeBron James: ‘He does everything better than he did five years ago when he supposedly was in his prime. … He’ll go down as one of the greatest passers to ever play the game.’
— Tom Moore (@TomMoorePhilly) January 27, 2021
Rivers may well be playing some mental games here, but he knows what he said is the absolute truth. While there is no need to talk up your opponent in order to spur your team to greater heights, LeBron James is no ordinary rival. He’s made some of the best playoff runs of his career at Doc Rivers’ expense.