Heading into his 16th NBA season, LeBron James does not need to play in preseason games at this stage of his career.
However, with eight new players on the roster including himself, the 33-year-old has been on the court, albeit for limited minutes, to help the Los Angeles Lakers build chemistry.
In James’ best performance as a Laker, he recorded 15 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists in just the first half against the Golden State Warriors. As the Lakers play the two-time defending champions once again to conclude the preseason, he is only focused on one thing.
“Health,” James said. “I don’t care if we turn the ball over 1,000 times on Friday. I want everybody to come out healthy. I know Luke is not going to like that, but… everybody coming out healthy and ready for next Thursday is all that matters to me.”
James will keep healthy as he and several others are being held out Saturday night. That doesn’t apply to Lonzo Ball, who is starting after making his preseason debut off the bench.
With Ball playing in Las Vegas, it marked the first time the Lakers had all of their rotation players. As other championship contenders have chemistry on their side, head coach Luke Walton and company are looking to speed up that process with effort and commitment.
Following the preseason, the Lakers will have nearly a week to prepare for their 2018-19 NBA season opener against the Portland Trail Blazers on the road. As the Moda Center has been a difficult place for the Lakers, a win would be a nice way to usher in a new era with James and the young core.
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