The Los Angeles Lakers won last night, beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 128-99. It was a buzzer-to-buzzer victory, as the Lakers slowly built up their lead all night rendering the 4th quarter almost completely useless. Anthony Davis didn’t play at all in the final frame while LeBron James checked out very early in the quarter, as the Lakers got on the plane after the game to return home with a franchise record. They’re now 7-0 on the road on the season, beating the best start to a season in franchise history. It leaves the Lakers 3-3 at home, as it has seemed that the Lakers appreciate the challenge on the road. LeBron James commented on this last night after the game, saying the following (per Kyle Goon of the OC Register):
LeBron on the Lakers' 7-0 road start: "We just have a bunker mentality when we go out on the road. It's just us." Adds that it really is "just us" this year more than others because of empty arenas and COVID-19 protocols that keep them from going out.
— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) January 14, 2021
To be honest, the Lakers’ pleasant bubble experience probably assists them in these road trips. They’re not like normal road trips of the past, where the Lakers would be free to explore the opposing team’s town and have some fun on their off nights. On the road they probably have similar environments to their time in the Walt Disney World hotels, building chemistry through some Madden and some jokes.
Frank Vogel was asked about what makes this team so good on the road (even dating back to last season), saying the following (quote transcribed from Spectrum SportsNet):
We have defensive talent and IQ, I think we’re working really hard on that side of the ball. If you have a chance to defend with elite scorers like we have in Anthony (Davis) and LeBron (James) that are brilliant passers with a great support group around them. If we are playing to our abilities, we have a complete team. And obviously, it gives you a great chance to win on the road.
— Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) January 14, 2021
The Lakers definitely seem to be having fun tallying up these wins on the road. After the game Alex Caruso tweeted about the record that they broke, saying the team was having a happy flight on their way back to L.A.
— Alex Caruso (@ACFresh21) January 14, 2021