The Los Angeles Lakers already rolled up 21 points at the Houston Rockets in the second quarter on Tuesday when LeBron James took the display of dominance to another, ridiculous level.
After catching a liner in the corner in front of the Lakers’ bench, James falsely used a pump to line up a 3-pointer when he heard a voice in his ear coming from behind. It was Lakers point guard Dennis Schroder.
“I asked him to bet a Benjamin on it, so he shot it,” Schroder said after LA’s 117-100 victory. “Shot it and turned around and said, ‘Bet. “Then it went in. It’s just legendary.”
LeBron James says Dennis Schroder bet he would not make a no-look 3 when he shot. He also addresses comparisons with Steph Curry’s no-look 3-pointer.
It wasn’t just making a 3 over Ben McLemore to double the Rockets ’score 48-24 that was memorable. That was the delivery. You see, James turned to Schröder to collect $ 100 while the ball was still in the air.
“I took the bet while still shooting the ball,” James said, finishing with 26 points as the Lakers improved their league-best record to 9-3. “A bet is not official until you see a man in the eye, so I had to look him in the eye and I could win.”
There was an instant appreciation for the showmanship of James’ teammates.
“He’s one of the greatest to play this game, and the things he does are always crazy to watch in real time,” said Kyle Kuzma.
In a sport where players learn to follow their shots from a young age, what James has not seen is too often. Gilbert Arenas once broke it out on a game-winning 3. Former Lakers guard Nick Young, famously, had pulls back on him as his shot rhymed out. And Stephen Curry, considered the greatest shooter the game has ever known, will pull it off so often.
“Steph [has] definitely done it probably most in our league, and when you shoot the ball as beautifully and effortlessly and exactly as Steph does, he has the ultimate, ultra-green light to do so, “James said of his former enemy for the NBA Finals.” Because ten times out of nine, it goes for Steph. “
And James, who went 4-for-9 from 3 on Tuesday – bursting out of a 1-for-11 stretch in his last two games from deep – also has the green light. Whether it’s while the ball is in the air or pulling up from the logo to let it fly, as he has done with increasing frequency.
“We encourage him to strike defense over the top,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “There are several reasons for that: (A) he’s probably the best shooter on our team. And (B) they’ve playing him soft. that he takes, he has a green light to take them, because he makes them. “
James’ no-look 3 made the free-falling rockets – now 3-6 after losing four out of their last five – look silly.
“It does not feel good. It does not,” Houston coach Stephen Silas said. “They’re obviously a group and they’re having fun at our expense. So it does not feel good at all and we have to take umbrella. It’s like they’re dancing on our home turf. We just have to fight. We have to fight. fight through it. “
The Lakers ‘bench broke out after the shot went in, with several of James’ teammates chasing him down the field as he sprinted back on defense. Vogel and James said part of the team’s mission this season is to rebuild the chemistry that helped carry them to the championship last year. Such moments bring the group together.
“Everyone was having fun,” Schroder said. “Everyone talked about it, even during timeouts. It was just a hell of a play.”
ESPN’s Tim MacMahon contributed to this report.