L.A.

LeBron James says Lakers have improved ‘every season’ since Luke Walton became head coach

Luke Walton, Lakers
Ringo H.W. Chiu/The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — In the final meeting against the Cleveland Cavaliers this season, the Los Angeles Lakers were able to pull out a split of the two contests by cruising to a 127-113 win on Sunday night. 

It was a collective offensive effort from the Lakers led by Julius Randle‘s career night with a career-best 36 points on 14-of-18 shooting with 14 rebounds, and eight assists. Los Angeles also dished 30 assists while holding a significant edge on the glass over the Cavaliers at 51-37.  

This was another step in the right direction for the Lakers claiming their 30th win of the season, which is now four more than last year’s total with 16 games still to play. Since the flip of the calendar to 2018, the Lakers have demonstrated some increasingly improved play on the court holding a winning record so far through the first three months of 2018 with an overall 19-12 mark over that span. 

Los Angeles has stepped it up a notch since the All-Star break winning seven out of their first nine games that includes winning sweeping a four-game road trip for the first time since 2009. This has caught the attention of LeBron James, who voiced that he believes Luke Walton being at the helm has made a huge difference for the franchise over the last two seasons. 

“Since Luke [Walton] took over, they’ve improved every single season I think,” James said. “You just try to implement that ball movement, that body movement, that he got when he was in Golden State.”

The Lakers’ continued improvement has been quite encouraging as it has not only given much reason for optimism but put the chatter about possibly sneaking into the playoffs in the picture sitting just 6.5 games out of the eighth playoff spot currently held by the Los Angeles Clippers. 

These renewed aspirations may be a bit out of reach at this point, but the fact that the team is making strides in the right direction could have much more impact beyond just this season where players like James could consider joining the mix in the summer. In fact, James has long been rumored to be considering the Lakers as a potential landing if he does opt out of the final year of his current contract. The same could be said for the likes of Oklahoma City Thunder star forward Paul George and possibly others. 

This only makes it clearer that there is much more at stake over these next few weeks left in the regular season as how they finish out the season could have a tremendous impact on the future of the franchise. 

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Bob Garcia IV

Staff Writer at Sports Out West
Bob Garcia IV is a sports journalist from Southern California. He's currently the Los Angeles Lakers beat writer for Sports Out West. He is also currently covering the NBA and NFL for ClutchPoints. He was previously the beat writer for LA Rams Report for Scout.com, which is a website dedicated to covering the Rams. Lastly, he was a reporter for the award-winning newspaper, The Daily Sundial, at California State University, Northridge. You can follow him on Twitter, @BGarciaivsports.
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