LeBron James centered on playoff push after All-Star Game loss
There are not any secrets and techniques, no hidden agendas, no inquiries to be requested.
LeBron James was crystal clear — there’s one acceptable final result for the remainder of this season.
“It’s 23 of the most important games of my career for a regular season,” he stated earlier than the All-Star Game at Vivint Arena on Sunday.
And after a little bit of a scare, that’s what James should cope with subsequent.
James missed the second half due to a hand damage as Team Giannis beat Team LeBron 184-175. Boston’s Jayson Tatum, who was chosen as MVP, scored 55 for Team Giannis, breaking Anthony Davis’ All-Star Game single-game scoring report.
When the NBA resumes, the Lakers will must be in a dash — the group is 2 video games out of the ultimate play-in spot and 4 ½ video games out of the No. 6 seed.
James spoke pregame Sunday earlier than captaining and drafting his group for the All-Star Game, and although he answered a number of questions on breaking the league’s all-time scoring report, James insisted his focus is elsewhere.
“I want to make a push to make the playoffs,” James stated. “I don’t want to see myself not being part of the postseason for two years straight. It’s just not part of my DNA. We’re sitting up here talking about the record and things of that nature, and that’s all cool, but I’m more passionate about trying to make the postseason and give ourselves a chance to compete for another Larry O’Brien Trophy. That’s just who I am. That’s what I’m cut from.
“So I hope I can figure out a way to just make sure that I’m available on the floor every single night for these 23 games to give us a chance, give our group a chance to be able to compete every night and give ourselves a chance to win every night so we can give ourselves a chance to get into the postseason.”
James has been preventing foot and ankle accidents this season, the Lakers profitable simply 5 instances within the 14 video games he’s missed. James performed within the Lakers’ remaining recreation earlier than the break after lacking the earlier three.
He didn’t play within the second half Sunday after hitting a finger on his proper hand on the rim, however it’s not an damage the Lakers are involved about. James deliberate on enjoying sparingly Sunday.
“The most important thing for me right now is to maintain my health and be available to my teammates after this break because we have to make a strong push if we want to do anything special,” he stated.
Sunday’s recreation started with a playground-style draft. From the starters, James chosen Joel Embiid first earlier than selecting former teammate (and Lakers’ commerce goal earlier this month) Kyrie Irving second.
Lauri Markkanen was the ultimate starter picked and Jaren Jackson Jr. was the ultimate reserve chosen.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, who captained the group reverse James, performed the primary possession of the sport, dunked and exited — his injured wrist unhealthy sufficient to restrict his participation.
James vowed to not go “too crazy” throughout Sunday’s recreation — a rule he shortly violated when threw an alley-oop to himself off the backboard within the recreation’s first minutes.
He completed with 13 factors in 14 minutes earlier than shutting it down for the Lakers’ remaining push.
Paul George scored eight factors off the bench for Team LeBron on a troublesome capturing night time throughout which he missed all 9 of his three-point pictures.