On Monday, the Los Angeles Lakers reached the NBA's vaccine threshold of 85-percent -- meaning the team is now allowed to operate under significantly loosened COVID-19 restrictions.
For the first time this season on Wednesday, the No. 7 seed in the West gathered for a maskless meeting in the film room. Prior to these vaccine-threshold loosened restrictions, the team was forced to watch film spread out across the practice court while wearing masks.
According to Yahoo Sports, multiple Lakers players have said the Wednesday film session felt "normal" again.
“You don’t realize how important and productive it is to have film sessions in an intimate setting until you lose it,” one LA player said, via Yahoo Sports. “When guys are together in close proximity, you’re much more engaged, and especially when you don’t have to wear a mask.”
With COVID-19 protocols loosening all over the league, the Lakers are beginning to play like "normal" as well.
Previously hitting a rough patch with both LeBron James and Anthony Davis injured in the final stretches of the season, the defending NBA champions are finally showing their Finals-favorite pedigree again.
During Thursday night's Game 3 against the No. 2 seeded Phoenix Suns, the team put together a near-flawless third quarter to pull away in the second half.
The Lakers currently lead the series 2-1.
Game 4 will tip off on Sunday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. ET.