The Los Angeles Lakers finally seem to be on the right track with wins in six of their last eight, though LeBron James admitted on Wednesday that things have not worked out as hoped for a roster filled with veterans.
Thanks to a big hit from Austin Reaves, the Lakers beat the Mavericks 107-104 in extra time, scoring their third win in a row and finally getting a breather above the .500 mark. While trauma and other problems can be blamed for early difficulties, it is clear that the Lakers have failed to live up to their championship-level expectations through the first quarter of the season. James wasn’t shy about pointing it out.
James told reporters on Wednesday, December 15. “It didn’t go away as others had hoped. You go out and play games and you want to be better. You want to be better every day. We want to keep doing our routine, keep doing what we have to do to be great every night. So we are ourselves as a team. We had a lot of injuries, a lot of mixed formations. Obviously the guy in the protocol and the wrong protocol, things of that nature.
“We are what we are a team right now and we like our position.”
Things couldn’t be easier for the Lakers with a healthy roster. The team is missing important pieces in Dwight Howard, Talen Horton-Tucker and Malik Monk, all of whom joined this week’s NBA health and safety protocols. The team also doesn’t have veterans Trevor Ariza and Kendrick Nunn – two players have yet to play a game this season but have been signed to play key roles in rotation.
There have also been rampant commercial rumors involving major players – such as Horton-Tucker and Russell Westbrook – and Frank Vogel’s Job Security has also been questioned.
LeBron James looks like an MVP candidate for the Lakers
While the team struggled, James continued to be a steady, consistent force. He’s averaging 26.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 6.9 assists, playing just over 37 minutes per game and shooting more than 50% away.
James has made a few amazing Mavericks matches, including try to block – which is known as the goalkeeper – where he has a bit of an air of irony. And as the game announcers have reminded everyone many times, James is turning 37 at the end of the month.
“Who I am? How do I continue to play? I’ve been doing that for 19 years,” James said in an interview earlier this week, praising sleep as the secret to his success. “Just do what I’m doing. I feel like I’m getting better every day. I am getting healthier every day.”
Russell Westbrook gave many compliments to LeBron James
The biggest challenge for the Lakers this season is learning how to integrate the former MVP Russell Westbrook into their game plan. It’s a learning process, but things are evolving and getting easier, especially with James in the lineup more consistently after some problems early in the season kept him out of the game.
“He’s very aggressive in making the right plays and readings,” Westbrook said. “Our team is different and tonight is another night where he imposed his will. When he can do it, and he can do it nightly, our team is a different team. ”
James was recently named the Western Conference’s Player of the Week, averaging 28.3 points, 8.0 assists and 7.5 rebounds between June 6 and 12. 12. But winning is more important than any individual award for James, and the Lakers are finally building some momentum.
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https://heavy.com/sports/los-angeles-lakers/lebron-james-strong-message-slow-start/ LeBron James sends powerful message about Lakers’ slow start