The game had not yet begun, and LeBron James could feel the fumes surrounding the city of Sacramento and the fog in the Golden 1 center.
James, who smelled a cigarette in the stadium during his team's morning shoot, was not sure how the Camp Fire, about 70 miles north of Sacramento, would affect the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday.
But the Lakers seem to learn to deal with adversity. Or perhaps they are finding ways to deal better.
In Butte County, California, fumes of intense forest fires flocked into the city of Sacramento and were spotlighted in the courts of the Golden 1 Center.
The veteran center had an immediate impact on the defense and rebound of the Lakers.
The Lakers have won four of their last five games, except in the first quarter, where they were most likely to have been terribly defeated in a game against the Toronto Raptors on Sunday. The Lakers braked the Sacramento Kings, winning an impressive 101-86 victory over seven of their last 10 games.
And still the fresh James-Lakers era of the Lakers reached .500.
Perhaps this has made significant progress since the Lakers (6-6 years old) lost five of their first seven games and the sky felt a little over a week.
The Lakers are already looking forward to a potential start, but only two of the players who have drawn the multi-race suspension of Houston Rockets by Lagorno and Brandon Ingram. Magic Johnson named Luke Walton in seven games. Walton was investigated for his job stability until Johnson came out and said his coach was safe except for something bold.
But after all the turbulence, the Lakers are approaching 35,000 feet and "cruising altitude". Could the situation be stabilized? Because it is LeBron and L.A, it will be more drama for Lakers in the future. But the victory at Sacramento was a sure sign of progress.
Expect more than your defensive efforts. Just a few days ago, President Johnson of the Lakers basketball team expressed dissatisfaction by explaining that part of the meeting with Walton was "we will go forward because we are finished with the last defense."
On Saturday, the Lakers gave up more than 110 points in their first 11 games and started the longest season in the franchise history (1961-62). According to ESPN statistics and information, it was the longest march of the team that started the season since 1983-84 Nuggets.
However, against the improved Kings' team, which ran first at 109.0, the Lakers defeated the Kings in HalfCourt, occasionally delaying Sacramento. According to Second Spectrum, Walton's defense has a 24.7% stamina in Sacramento on the half court, and the best team in the regular season or playoffs was in the last five seasons.
|Lakers (Rank)||October 30th||After October 30th|
|Win||2-5 (T-20th)||4-1 (T-4th)|
|off. Eff.||113.0 (7th place)||105.8 (18 days)|
|Def. Eff.||113.2 (23rd)||103.1 (5th)|
|Opp. FTA ratio||.292 (21st)||.178 (1st)|
The Lakers limited the quick break points in the past few days and the team listened to the coaching staff.
James said, "Return to the transition, missed, dead ball, get everything." "I just have to go back. De Aaron Fox is one of the fastest guards we have ever gained in the game and is now number one. So we put a lot of emphasis on going back and putting our bodies in front of everyone.
"We stuck with the game plan for 48 minutes," James added. "We have been doing it late and the result has been victorious."
Several factors contributed to the Lakers' performance. Their chemical properties appear to be forming as they enter the 12th season of the season. Of course young players Lonzo Ball still seems to be looking for a comfortable area with an improved list. And veterinarians like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Lance Stephenson are still struggling to adapt to the fluctuating playing times.
Lonzo Ball misses with a short plotter, jumpers and a 3-point shot.
However, by fixing the lineup and rotation, Walton is well aware of which group is the best fit, and the Lakers are more comfortable with each other.
Kyle Kuzma said, "We were just in sync, we do not have to take comfort in the starting line-up and do not have to do many backup centers." We knew the game plan, . I was in De 'Aaron Fox and iso and I was confident that I knew Rondo was on my left. Chemistry will help.
"The Toronto game kind kicked us out of the butt, but we had to play games every day, and we think that's the most part we can see in chemical industry buildings."
Another important element was the addition of Center Tyson Chandler. Like the Magic no-look pass, you may not have seen Chandler's buy-out, and you can also sign up for the Lakers. But the results so far have been great.
Chandler almost seems to fit perfectly into what the Lakers need. Jacob McGee is a backup center that does a lot of things. He offers rim protectors, pick-and-roll offlobe options, bone-rattling screens, championship experience, communication skills like Rondo-James and true veteran presence in locker room.
Before Chandler arrived, Walton had to move Kuzma to center or small two-way contractor Johnathan Williams, or still take a little raw material to Ivica Zubac and move it small with McGee on the bench. Chandler, who had 12 rebounds, scored 13 points and 9 rebounds for Carl Anthony Town in Minnesota and led Willie Coulthard to 12 points and 12 rebounds.
"He just got up in front of the court," James said. "We have a good 1-2 punches at JaVale and Tyson.JaVale gave us plenty of opportunities to protect the forest and to be more effective at attacking.Deepoffs and no drop.When Tyson came in He takes a more intense posture.
Lakers, who scored Sacramento in 34.8% and the Kings 52-38 in paint, actually spit out a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter. The Lakers had a 20-point cushion with 4 points and 45 losses and a 10-point sliding, but the Lakers were not released anymore. It has gone a step further to buy a dear life with the Dallas Mavericks, the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Portland Trail Blazers in the last three championships.
"It's progress," Walton said. "We can not win the game at first, but we can not keep it all close and catch the lead, but we still have a way to win at the end. We got the lead for the first time and got the lead.
"We know we can not be straight ahead, we will deal with more adversity, but we will be fine as long as we strive to be better."
By the end of the game James' s headache had long been laughing with Ball and communicating with Rondo at Robita.
Rajon Rondo pushes the ball up and passes to Kyle Kuzma. Kyle Kuzma takes a quick break with a dunk.
The Atlanta Hawks with a back-to-back set for Los Angeles's Atlanta Hawks and two-game winning streak of the Lakers James knows he can not afford to fall into a trap that does not show up early in the way his team did last. In the same situation as Sunday in Toronto.
But this Lakers team is playing better than a week ago. And it is the perfect remedy for James headache.
When James asked that the Lakers had reached .500, "The record will speak for itself, but in the end it's about how we play at the time." And now, we have a good ball aggressively and defensively have."