‘He’s the ultimate chess player’: LeBron James can control playoffs if Lakers get it right, Jamal Crawford feels

As the first half of the 2021-22 NBA season draws to a close, the Los Angeles Lakers have yet to establish themselves. One of the most hyped teams before the start of the year, LeBron James and co. are on the cusp of playoff spots right now. However, if they manage to secure the spot, there’s a chance they could go far in the tournament, given the experience LeBron and Russell Westbrook bring to the table. At least that’s what former player Jamal Crawford thinks.

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Four-time NBA champion LeBron James is no stranger to the big stage. Time and time again, he has delivered in the knockout stages, whether for the Lakers, Cavaliers or Heat. As a result, he’s set to tie Kobe Bryant’s record 18 All-Star appearances this year. But the big question is, can he guide Frank Vogel’s brigade to another titanic victory?

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Former NBA star Jamal Crawford thinks ‘chess player’ LeBron James can influence the playoffs

Any team in the world is stronger with LeBron James than without him. Unfortunately, the king hasn’t received enough support in the current season. Multiple injuries and a few rusty compatriots have forced him to bear a large majority of the pressure so far. Discussing Los Angeles’ current form with Celtics legend Kevin Garnett, recently retired Jamal Crawford believes James can single-handedly lead the Yellow Army deep into knockouts.

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Crawford drew attention to LeBron’s immense ability with mind games. He said, “First of all, LeBron can control a streak. Right? He is, you have your coach, and he’s a different chess player. He’s the quintessential chess player. So he can control your streak. He’ll see you enough, he’ll know exactly where the help is coming from, he’ll gravitate everyone else. You just gotta make shots.

January 9, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (6) reacts after scoring a field goal and shooting the foul against Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. (13) during the first half at Crypto.com Arena. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers can definitely be a game changer in a 7-game knockout series. However, getting there is the question. Can LeBron and his wounded soldiers put up a monumental effort? To see in the near future.

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