With Russell Westbrook a late scratch against the Portland Trail Blazers, LeBron James resumed his role as the point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers. Unfortunately though, it did not matter as the Lakers still suffered a dispiriting loss.
The Trail Blazers have been busy ahead of the trade deadline as they look to clear up cap space to retool their roster in the offseason, but they found ways to beat a Laker team who looked disinterested for most of the night. Los Angeles was lackadaisical on both ends of the floor and failed to get many stops in the fourth quarter, ultimately resulting in a loss that never should have occurred.
James did not need too many words to summarize the loss, calling it a rough outing for the Lakers.
“Obviously, it’s a tough loss in the sense that we wanted to get back into the winning ways, but we don’t come into the game expecting anything but everybody’s best,” James said. “The majority of the second half we got the best out of Portland. They shot the ball extremely well from the three. They started the game 0-for-11 from three and from that point on they went 10-for-21 from the 3-point line in the second half.
“Our turnovers, obviously, 28 points off 21 turnovers is a killer. Every time we turned the ball over, the majority of them was me, it was almost like pick-sixes… That’s not ingredients for winning basketball.”
As a team, Los Angeles committed 21 turnovers, which led to 28 points for Portland. James was responsible for six of them and took ownership of his mistakes.
“Some of them was unforced. We just have to be better with the ball. My turnovers was just, I don’t want to say careless, but the last one that I had was actually an unbelievable play by Dennis Smith. We had a 2-on-1 and he trying to chase down Talen [Horton-Tucker] and I threw a bounce pass. The same time the bounce pass was happening, he turned around and just got his hand and they came down and hit a three. That’s another one of our pick-sixes.
“I’ll take accountability for that. It starts with me being a point guard on tonight’s team and it trickles down to everybody else. I take full responsibility for that.”
While it is admirable to hear James shoulder some of the blame for the loss, it does not take away from the fact that the Lakers looked like a team waiting for things to change. The trade deadline is on Thursday, but the Lakers will also have to make some changes from within if they want to turn their season around.
James’ knee is OK after scare
In the third quarter, it looked like James may have reinjured his knee on a drive to the basket that resulted in a collision with Justise Winslow. He assured everyone after the game though that he is OK.
“Nah, that didn’t affect me at all. I felt it a little bit getting grabbed from behind going full speed by Justise [Winslow] and kind of took a wrong step and felt it a little bit, but it didn’t affect me for the remainder of the game. It was just a little sore for a couple of possessions.”
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