Cleveland – With the Los Angeles Lakers’ flat-lining season seeing some reversal with Monday’s 131-120 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron James He says he still has something to play with.
“I’m literally struggling with the time of my life right now,” James said after the Lakers ended their four-game run by winning two of their last three games. “The game is a beautiful thing.”
Los Angeles’ position in the standings isn’t pretty, even going up, as the Lakers still sit ninth in the Western Conference — ahead of the No. 10 New Orleans Pelicans and three games over No. 11. The San Antonio Spurs — with 10 games remaining.
But James, who scored 38 points, scored 12 assists and scored 11 rebounds in raising his all-time record to 17-1 against his former franchise, is still stuck for the moment.
With four championships and 10 trips to the NBA Finals already on his résumé, why does the 37-year-old still find a target with a team he’s only hoping to make his way to the playing championship?
“Because I don’t care too much about our team’s narrative,” James said. “At this point in my career, I don’t get involved in these things. I don’t read about them, and I don’t hear them much. … I don’t care about any of these things, I am a blast playing basketball.”
Lakers coach Frank Vogel said James’s play — averaging 37.3 points for 57.1% shooting, 10 rebounds and 8.3 assists to end the run as Los Angeles beat playoff teams in Toronto and Cleveland and narrowly lost to Washington after leading by as many as 16 – He kept his group competitive despite the passage of the season.
“It’s my turn when things aren’t going right, it’s not good to be around,” Vogel said. “This team hasn’t left the rope and the biggest reason is the way it plays, how it leads and what it represents in terms of confidence in where we can eventually get.”
James got a little glory days on Monday. He made the third three times in his career against the team that drafted him and received a long, warm welcome from the Cleveland fans when the video board acknowledged his passing. Karl Malone to become the NBA’s No. 2 all-time leading scorer over the weekend. He particularly welcomed his old teammate, Kevin Love.
I have dunked it.
“To be completely honest, I hated that it had to be him,” James said with a smile. “He’s my man. This is my brother. I hope I’m still called for that. [Love’s] wedding. This isn’t even in my dunk all the time so I’m going to take it out. I did not mean that. K-Love, I love you and take it back. Hopefully I can get those two points back and still win the game by nine.”
Los Angeles got that pillow not only thanks to James, but Russell Westbrook (20 points, 11 assists) and DJ Augustin (20 points out of 7 vs. 7).
“Internally, we feel like we’re a great team and we can do something special,” said Augustin. “Run. Run the playoffs. Run the playoffs. As long as we believe in each other, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.”
Westbrook said he is excited to prove wrong the skeptics who have commented on the Lakers’ problems all season.
He said, “There is nothing better than silencing people.”
The Lakers may have quieted the noise for one night, but they still have six of their last 10 games on the road, and home games aren’t a great medium either, with the Philadelphia 76ers and Denver Nuggets coming into town.
“I’m going to play with a lot of passion, a lot of energy, give my teammates what they deserve, what they need, and like I’ve said for the rest of the season, I hope to stay fairly injury-free,” James said. . “Obviously I’m dealing with some injuries at the moment, but I’m working on it and we’re working on it and that’s all that matters. We leave everything on the floor and control what you can control and what you can don’t worry about. Just my mind.”
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