When the word chemistry is brought up in the world of sports, it is often regarded one of the most important elements to a team’s success.
For this year’s Los Angeles Lakers team it has become evident that this team is a close-knit bunch that enjoys playing with each other. It has also become apparent through statements like what Xavier Henry said after team’s Tuesday’s night season opener 116-103 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.
“I love our second unit to tell you the truth,” Henry said, who had a career-high 22 points off the bench including 10 points in the decisive fourth quarter. “We have a lot of young, athletic, and energetic guys We come in the game, we change the pace, the tempo, (and) we change the outlook of what we do.”
Henry continued on to express his enjoyment playing for the Lakers as so far it appears to be the right fit for the 22-year-old.
“I love the team, I love my coaches, and I love my teammates,” Henry said. “So when you’re in a place where you are comfortable, and just be yourself and play your game you tend to do well. And I am enjoying it so far.”
What Henry’s comments provide is insight as to what type of bond this team has. Statements such as these coming from Henry, who is a newcomer to the team this year, demonstrate how good the chemistry is between the 15 players on the Lakers’ roster.
This is a complete turnaround from last season, where there were many times that tension between the players on the team, namely between Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard, became more visible when the team struggled.
Since the Lakers Media Day in late September, there has been a feeling of a renewed sense of confidence and faith in each other due to the fact this season will be a fresh start with a revamped roster. This new vibe around the team is a credit to the organization bringing in glue guys such as Chris Kaman and Jordan Farmar to go along with more youthful players such as Henry, Wesley Johnson, and Shawne Williams.
There is a good bond building and chemistry developing with this team and Farmar has noticed it since he rejoined the team this offseason.
“Everyone’s very positive (as) they want the next man to do well,” Farmar said after Tuesday’s season opener. “It goes a long way. You know when you miss a free throw your team picks you up, (a) great bunch of guys hopefully we build on that.”
It is also evident to head coach Mike D’Antoni as he quickly pointed to the Lakers’ chemistry as something that the public may not know about the team.
“Chemistry means a lot and they’re good guys,” D’Antoni said on Tuesday night. “They are very coachable and they want to win. They’re doing everything right and when you do that you have a chance to play different guys. You don’t need one guy to be the star every night. Everybody has a chance. Everybody is playing hard. Everybody is rooting for everybody else.”
D’Antoni added that he has also felt a change in the vibe of the team this season compared to last year’s tension-ridden team.
“It’s just the positive energy. You know to me that’s the biggest thing,” D’Antoni said. “You just feel it, and you can feel the energy and everybody rooting for everybody. It is a little bit different from last year when it was like cold coming out of there. This time it was pretty warm.”
As the Lakers move along through the season their good chemistry will be a crucial element to lean on when the team faces adversity or struggles at any point this year. It could also be the deciding factor of the team’s success, because It may very well help this team push through and exceed their own expectations for this season.
Photo Credit: Lakers.com
Bob Garcia IV
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