LeBron James returned to the Los Angeles Lakers‘ lineup on November 19 against the Boston Celtics after missing the previous eight games due to an abdomen strain. The four-time MVP played 32 minutes and finished with 23 points and six rebounds while shooting 10-of-16 from the field and 3-of-7 from beyond the arc.
However, the Lakers still lost to the Celtics by a final score of 130-108. They were outscored 33-21 in the third quarter and 37-26 in the fourth.
LeBron and Co. are now 8-9 on the season, one game below .500. Many Lakers fans are beginning to panic since the team hasn’t looked good. However, LeBron is staying even-keeled.
LeBron James on Lakers: “We will get better. We will improve”
After the Lakers lost to the Celtics, LeBron sent an encouraging message to Los Angeles fans. The four-time champion said the team would get better.
“It’s never as bad as it may seem, and it’s never as good as it may feel,” LeBron said, via ESPN. “So I stay even-keeled throughout the whole journey. I understand this is a huge [undertaking]. It’s a process for us. And I’ve always felt comfortable when things are uncomfortable, so I look forward to the process of us trying to get better. And us getting better. Not trying. We will get better. We will improve.”
After the Lakers acquired Russell Westbrook from the Washington Wizards, they were expected to be one of the top teams in the regular season. However, Westbrook hasn’t found his groove yet. He’s averaging 5.0 turnovers and shooting only 42.6% from the field and 29.7% from beyond the arc. To make matters even worse, the Lakers are paying the one-time MVP $44.2 million this season.
LeBron has been in the NBA since 2003, so he knows that there’s plenty of games left for the Lakers to turn things around. However, the King believes he and his teammates have to play with some sense of urgency since he doesn’t want to fall too behind in the standings.
LeBron James: “There’s no level of panic, but there should be some sense of urgency any time we take the floor”
The Lakers have 65 games left in the season, so LeBron isn’t going to panic over an 8-9 start. However, he does want to see the team play with more seriousness.
“We damn sure need to play better, no matter who is in the lineup,” LeBron said. “We have our system and we need to obviously fast-track it and get better with it so we can play, no matter who is out on the floor, we can play at a high level. There’s no level of panic, but there should be some sense of urgency any time we take the floor.”
The Lakers are averaging 109.2 points, good for ninth in the NBA. Offense hasn’t been a problem for them. It’s their inability to stop people from scoring that has been a major issue.
Lakers are giving up 113.3 points
The Lakers are giving up the second-most points in the NBA. Teams are scoring at will against them, and Anthony Davis is getting tired of it.
“We can go out and compete every night, but I don’t think it’s our offense. I think it’s our defense, honestly,” Davis said. “We’ve just got to do a better job on the defensive end.”
It will be interesting to see if LeBron, Davis, and Westbrook can figure out how to play with each other and get the Lakers on track. If the season ended today, Los Angeles would be in the play-in tournament. Before the season started, the Lakers were one of the oddsmakers’ favorites to win the championship. Even though he’s preaching patience, LeBron has to find a way to get his team together, especially on the defensive end.