The Los Angeles Lakers remain undefeated in 2023 after defeating the Sacramento Kings, 136-134, at Golden 1 Center. The team improved to 19-21 and now are only two games out of the 5-seed in a wide-open Western Conference.
The Lakers’ win over the Kings was their fifth straight dating back to Dec. 30. It coincides with LeBron James voicing his frustration over the team’s recent play and wanting to finish his career on a contender.
Lakers head Darvin Ham believes the comments were a necessary wake-up call and that the players have responded well so far, via NBA.com:
“I think everybody took it in stride. And no one disagreed with that, you know what I’m saying? Everyone wants to make it a story like LeBron is calling out his teammates, or LeBron is doing this, LeBron is doing that. He’s stating facts. So no one wants to be comfortable with losing or getting repetitions with losing or being satisfied like ‘OK, we had great individual performances but once again there’s another one in the L column.’ No one wants that. So yeah, it’s almost like ringing an alarm like ‘everybody wake up!.’ It’s time to get over ourselves, buckle down and compete as a unit on both sides of the ball and do what it takes. Man for man, hold ourselves accountable for the group. Not for ourselves, but for the group and we’ve again been trending in the right direction ever since. You see guys and their competitive juices and how they sustain their competitiveness throughout the 48-minute game. It’s paying dividends and I think that had a lot to do with it, him just, like I said, not calling anybody out but ringing an alarm. Like we need to be way more competitive than what we are at this current moment and we’ve been that these last five games.”
While James has played at an elite level for most of the season, other Lakers players have gone through difficult stretches That wasn’t the case on Saturday as four players scored over 20 points.
James led the way with 37 points and shot a solid 14-of-28 from the field. Thomas Bryant was also efficient as he scored 29 points on 12-of-14 shooting and pulled down 14 rebounds.
Dennis Schroder additionally scored 27 points and Russell Westbrook contributed 23 points while dishing 15 assists.
James hoping Lakers make roster upgrades at trade deadline
With the NBA trade deadline just over a month away, James reiterated his desire for the Lakers front office to upgrade the roster. To this point, the team has been linked to the likes of Bojan Bogdanovic, Cam Reddish, Myles Turner and Buddy Hield.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!