Despite finishing the 2019-20 season just over two months ago, the Los Angeles Lakers played the first game of a new season on Tuesday. LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Lakers received their championship rings, but followed it with an overall lackluster performance against the L.A. Clippers, losing 116-109.
The turnaround between winning the championship and playing their first game of the next season is the shortest in American sports history. Because of this, James and Davis are certainly going to have their minutes monitored throughout the regular season.
James, who is turning 36 years old in less than week, was thankful and excited for the ring ceremony but also relieved to be past that. “The day is over with. I’m very proud of what we were able to accomplish, I’m excited to move onto the next day,” James said.
“It even felt weird just having a basketball game today, for me personally and probably for a lot of other guys. I’m happy we were able to get our feet underneath us, happy we were able to get back on the floor with what this season is going to entail. Now we can move on, we can move on from last season.
“It was a helluva run for us in ’19-20, but now we can focus on ’20-21, so look forward to that.”
James called the shortened offseason “a lot to process,” but is welcoming some of the uncertainty. “It’s not that it’s starting over, it’s the fact that it’s here already. I’ve always had a routine of how I prepare going into a season after a Finals run or playoff run,” he said.
“Knowing the amount of time that I kind of have for my body, for my mind, for the team we’re going to be. There was just so much uncertainty of when we’re going to start the season, how we’re going to start the season. Is it going to be December? Is it going to be early December? Is it going to be Christmas? Is it going to be January? And then boom.
“December 1, training camp. First game of the season is happening on the 22nd. It was just a lot. I can’t even sit here and lie to you. It was too much to kind of grasp, but we’re in it now. Like I said, I’m happy today is over with and we can focus on the season. It’s just a lot to process.”
There are a number of difficulties that will surround the 2020-21 season for the entire NBA. But the Lakers — and the Miami Heat — will have to deal with these issues by themselves, as no other team had this short of an offseason.
What it will lead to is potentially significant load management, especially if the Lakers are winning plenty of games early on. Despite that, James does seem focused on the season ahead and will be ready to contribute in any way it’s needed.
James likely to play on Christmas after rolling ankle
James rolled his left ankle in the loss to the Clippers after stepping on the foot of Ivica Zubac while attempting to block his shot. He initially remained in the game and said he should be available for L.A.’s Christmas Day matchup with the Dallas Mavericks.
“Got a couple days, obviously you know how I am about treatment, so I’ll do that around the clock and I think I should be fine by Friday,” James said.
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