Lakers News: LeBron James Warns Of Challenge To Close Out Trail Blazers

The Los Angeles Lakers are just one game away from securing their spot in the Western Conference semifinals after an impressive Game 4 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers. But LeBron James has warned his teammates the hardest part of the first-round series still lies ahead.

The Lakers have bounced back after a disappointing 100-93 loss in Game 1 and claimed three straight wins, showing significant improvements in their intensity and shooting efficiency. On Monday, L.A. started off with a 15-0 run and held a 38-point lead over Portland in the third quarter, leaving them with no hopes for a comeback.

But James noted the Lakers should be wary of the Blazers nevertheless, claiming teams facing elimination are particularly tough to beat. “It’s the hardest game because you know the team that you’re playing is desperate,” he said.

“They’re going to give you everything they’ve got because they know they can be sent home. I come in with the same desperate mindset. I feel the same way: if we don’t win I feel like we get sent home. That’s always been my psyche, my mindset going into a closeout game.

“I haven’t always been victorious, but I have that mindset. Hopefully, we can do just that on Wednesday.”

Portland’s task has gotten even more difficult as the team announced Damian Lillard will miss Game 5 due to a right knee sprain. The five-time All-Star joined Zach Collins and Rodney Hood in being sidelined. Meanwhile, CJ McCollum has been playing for the majority of the NBA restart with a fractured back.

Trevor Ariza watched Game 4 wearing Kobe jersey

Former Laker Trevor Ariza is another of Portland’s absentees in the bubble. The 35-year-old veteran has been cheering on his teammates from home after opting out due to family reasons.

Ariza watched the emotional Game 4 hoping the Blazers would upset L.A. on Kobe Bryant Day and tie the series. But in a bold gesture, he was wearing Bryant’s No. 8 Lakers jersey as a tribute to the late five-time NBA champion who died in a helicopter crash in January.

Bryant and Ariza won the 2009 NBA title together in the latter’s second — and last — season at Staples Center.

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!

You May Also Like

Kobe On Leadership: ‘If It Breaks You, You Don’t Belong Here’

The Los Angeles Lakers pulled off an impressive second half comeback Sunday…

Lakers News: Shabazz Muhammad Was ‘Very Close’ To Signing With L.A.

Shabazz Muhammad, who ended up re-signing with the Minnesota Timberwolves, said that he was very close to signing with the Los Angeles Lakers…

Lakers News: Kobe Bryant Finishes Second In Jersey Sales In Final Season

From the moment he officially announced that it would be his final season, it became pretty clear that the top priority of the Los Angeles Lakers’ 2015-16 season was to send Kobe Bryant off in the best way possible…

LeBron James ‘Won’t Stop’ Until Lakers Return To Championship Contention, Hopes Jersey Hangs In Rafters

There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers franchise. It seems as if the Lakers won’t immediately replace…