PORTLAND, Ore. – With a White Barn mahogany teak scented candle burning in the empty locker room next to him, LeBron James set the mood for his debut with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Before the Lakers start What a rollercoaster season James could be a picture of calm. And then James did not need long to emphatically open his eagerly awaited first game with the Lakers.
In front of NBA classmate Adam Silver and Nike co-founder Phil Knight, James's first two baskets came as a laker on thundering tomahawk jams. But though James scored 26 points, 12 rebounds and six assists, the Portland Trail Blazers James & # 39; Lakers debuted with a 128-119 win at Moda Center.
The Lakers, who lost 1
The game started for the Lakers, who were in the lead at 10 after James opened the game with a bang. James's first basket in purple and gold came after stealing a pass from Jake Layman before catching up with 9:21 in the first quarter for an unannounced break-power jam. Less than 20 seconds later, James came through the alley before laying down another rip-roaring dunk. After both slams, James looked at Knights and Nike manager Lynn Merritt, who was sitting next to the basket where James dived.
In the beginning, the game felt like a big event, bigger than your typical season opener with all the hype that followed James joining the Lakers. Before the Lakers madness began, James was sitting at his locker stand with the candle burning next to him, listening to his music before the match, while he wore a Nike T-shirt with a self-reported Lakers jersey.
He seemed to notice nothing in the line of cameras and reporters holding on to any movement in a tight locker room for visitors to the Moda Center. When he put on his warm-up gear, an "NBA 2K" video game ad with James in it was playing on a TV near his locker.
No one could really know what the Lakers would look like until Thursday Real game outside the simulation of a video game. Nevertheless, James liked what he saw in the preseason.
"I love what we've done so far, I love our potential, but only time will tell," said James at the Lakers morning shot. "And this is the first step of a long journey for us."
The attention and hype surrounding the Lakers and James since the Star decided to move to Los Angeles with a freelance agency was intense.
Before the team left For Portland, head coach Luke Walton visited the Lakers' team, which controls owner Jeanie Buss in the team's training facility. The two talked about how long ago it had been since James joined the season in early July.
"It feels like it's about a week, it does," Walton said about the time of flying. "It's funny to be from my place as a coach, I said it feels like a week ago that all this happened, it was like," I feel like it was five months ago. # 39; It was a while for them, for me it was short, I think I'm just a coach and I know how much more I like coming in. It's gone quickly. "
Walton tried different lineups in the Season opener, James at one point use four of the year-old Lakers signatures, such as Rajon Rondo, Kentavious Caldwell Pope, Lance Stephenson and JaVale McGee. Walton also had James in addition to the prospects of the four Lakers Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Ball and Josh Hart.
One area that could cause concern for the Lakers at this season is 3-point shooting. The Lakers missed their first 15 attempts behind the bow before Hart finished a 3 late in the third quarter. Hart would bury yet another triple in the third quarter, but the Lakers shot 7 out of 30 out of 3 for the game.
The Lakers hope that their up-and-coming Core gets used to playing faster than expected next to James. In the other two times, James debuted with a new team, it took a while for him and his new teammates to land.
The Heat stumbled to a 9-8 start in James' first season in Miami before winning 12 consecutive games, finishing the game between 58 and 24 and reaching the first of four appearances in the NBA Finals.
When James returned to Cleveland, the Cavaliers opened 19-22 under David Blatt, winning 12 straights, finishing 53-29 and making the first of four NBA Finals
When James got off the team bus and into the arena with cameras He came close behind Ingram, recording each of his steps. James and the Lakers hope that Ingram will take a step towards All-Star this season.
One of the other young people, Kuzma, wore the same Nike Zoom 2k3 shoes, and an 18-year-old James wore his first training as an NBA athlete in 2003. Kuzma recently signed a sponsorship deal with the sneaker resale. App GOAT and wore the shoes of the sponsor during his preparation time.
Of course, the Lakers were the most important step on Thursday "First with James to start the season."
"Every step along the way is always different and challenging," James said as he started a new season with a new franchise. "No matter how comfortable you are, they all have their own feeling and you have to get better every day, so I'm looking forward to this challenge."