LeBron James committed 2 traveling violations at the worst time possible for the Lakers as they wound up losing Game 3 by 11 points to the Miami Heat.
The Miami Heat made a concerted effort to keep LeBron James and Anthony Davis off the boards in Game 3. This meant that a lot of their defensive attention was focused on boxing out.
The strategy definitely worked big time as the Lakers were only able to outrebound the Heat by 6. On top of that, Anthony Davis got few scoring opportunities and attempted just 9 shots in a Lakers loss.
LeBron James’s first travel in the 4th quarter
At the 8:15 mark of the 4th quarter and the Lakers tied with the Heat at 91 apiece, LeBron James found a switch onto Duncan Robinson.
Robinson is considered a subpar defender, so he attempted to switch back onto the roll man with his back turned.
James was going full steam ahead into the play, however. Robinson tried to stay in front of him, and James tried a hop-step layup that was easily identified as a travel by the refs.
LeBron travels on this one but the real interesting thing is how he attacks. Robinson does a good job showing here but as soon as he turns his back to recover James goes right at him. Just clever you know minus the travel. pic.twitter.com/XeUrrD9h6M
— Mo Dakhil (@MoDakhil_NBA) October 5, 2020
LeBron’s second travel that put the Lakers on the back foot
With the Lakers down by 5, they needed to put a bigger emphasis on driving to the paint. LeBron tried to execute the strategy, but came up with another troublesome travel call once again. The travel was less obvious this time, but it was one all the same and it was a good spot by the referees.
Refs call a controversial travel call on LeBron (I think it was an incorrect call) pic.twitter.com/RaLpJe3lIq
— Main Team (@MainTeamSports) October 5, 2020
NBA officials are often hounded for not calling superstars for travels, but they got it right this time in a crucial Finals setting.