Mamba Day was what Laker Nation truly needed since the untimely passing of Laker Legend Kobe Bryant. Lakeshow went showtime in a 135-115 steamroll over the Blazers in Game 4.
The new black mamba snake print Laker jerseys were unveiled on 8/24 in honor of the icon Kobe Bryant, as well as the announcement of Figueroa Street between Olympic and MLK being renamed to Kobe Bryant Blvd.
Figueroa St. will be renamed Kobe Bryant Blvd between Olympic and MLK.
— ESPN Los Angeles (@ESPNLosAngeles) August 24, 2020
When LeBron James joined the Lakers, Kobe welcomed his fellow Team USA teammate with open arms on joining a one of a kind franchise. Kobe’s friendship and brotherhood has always meant a lot to King James. “It was an honor. It’s been an honor, to put on a Laker uniform even before the passing of the great Kobe Bryant. But tonight, was another one of those moments for myself and this organization, for all the players to wear those uniforms that was inspired by him and his mind and his creativity,” said James.
Prior to the game, Lakers Head Coach Frank Vogel touched on what Kobe represents to the game. “Kobe made it cool as hell to be a Laker for 20 years. He just had that swag about him that this team really embodied. He’s the greatest Laker of all time, and it’s just fun to be a part of the legacy that he created over those 20 years.”
L.A. started the game on a 15-0 run, completely demoralizing Portland from the opening tip forcing Blazers Head Coach Terry Stotts to call a quick timeout. Kobe was with the Lakers all night which was evident after a Caldwell-Pope jumper that led the scoreboard to read 24-8.
“To go out there one day removed from his birthday and on his day of 8/24, to be able to have a game on this day, the stars aligned,” said James. “I did notice that we were up 24-8 because, throughout the course of a game, I’m always looking if we’re up, if we’re down, what’s all the team fouls and all the things of that nature. And when I looked up there and saw 24-8, I was like ‘okay, he’s here in the building.’ It was a beautiful night for our franchise and something we’ll probably always remember.”
LeBron James had a look in his eye that resembled Kobe’s killer look when he would enter his mamba mode, and King James did not disappoint scoring 30 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 assists in just 28 minutes.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) August 25, 2020
Looking the best they’ve looked all bubble and postseason, the Lakers shot 62% and made it absolutely rain nailing 11 three-pointers in the first half alone. The game was essential over after the Lakeshow put up 80 points in the first half, which hasn’t been accomplished as a franchise since 1987.
“We just hit shots today,” said Kyle Kuzma nailing 5 three-pointers for 18 points. “That’s something we’ve been struggling with throughout the whole bubble and today was our best shooting game. Anytime we can shoot threes and make them it makes the game a lot easier for AD and Bron.”
James touched on the recent offensive success saying, “We want to get better every game. We’re seeing things that we can do better, but the most important thing that we’ve done in this series is we’ve taken our in-between-games film sessions and meetings and we’ve applied them to that next day. We look at film, we watch film, we know there’s not much practice time and you really can’t get on the floor too much because you’re playing every other day, so that next day is kind of the recovery day but our minds are sharp and our minds are firing when we’re in our film sessions, and that’s been huge for our ball club so far.”
The Lakers are licking their chops with a closeout game that could end the series, while the Blazers are unsure whether superstar point guard Damian Lillard will suit up for game 5 after injuring his right knee driving to the hoop in the second half.
“It’s the hardest game because you know that the team you’re playing, they’re desperate,” said James. “They’re going to give you everything that they got because they know they can be sent home.”
The bubble has gotten players away from society, but they haven’t escaped the constant theme of social injustice that has recently been exemplified with Jacob Blake being shot seven times at point-blank range by law enforcement in front of his family.
“If you’re sitting here telling me that there was no way to subdue that gentleman or detain him before the firing of guns, then you’re sitting here and you’re lying not only to me but you’re lying to every African American, every Black person in the community,” said James.
“We are scared as Black people in America. … Black men, Black women, Black kids. We are terrified.”
LeBron shared a powerful message on Jacob Blake and what it’s like to be African American in America. pic.twitter.com/UOMD7rk7Bd
— ESPN (@espn) August 25, 2020
The Lakers will look to close out the series against the Blazers and advance to the second round Wednesday at 6 PM on TNT.