The Los Angeles Lakers suffered one of their most disappointing losses of the season on Wednesday night, falling to a Portland Trail Blazers team that has traded more than half their rotation players over the last few days.
That came on the heels of a blowout loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, after which LeBron James declared that he doesn’t believe his team can get to the level of the defending champions as currently constructed.
While that seemed to be a signal to the front office to make some trades ahead of Thursday’s deadline to improve the roster, it will be interesting to see if that’s even possible given the Lakers’ lack of assets.
With the trade deadline looming though, many Lakers players have heard their name in rumors, and James believes that may be affecting the team’s play.
“Obviously it’s something that’s weighing on this group that we’re trying to all get through,” James said after the loss to Portland. “Almost feels like it’s like fog, just fog in the air and we’re trying to see what’s on the other side of it. I obviously take today, take tomorrow like any other day and if something changes, then I’ll approach it.
“But I’m literally just tired as hell right now. I just want to get some wine and get into bed and wake up tomorrow and feel good about what tomorrow has in store and we’ll see what happens. We’ll see what happens as far as the deadline, but other than that I’m kind of just focused on what we can do to be better.”
James went on to discuss the mental challenges that this season has brought on for him and his teammates.
“Mental fatigue is always a part of the season. It’s a marathon, it’s a long season that happens and it’s even more fatigue when you’re losing ballgames. So that’s the mental side of it, but just staying as sharp as possible, keeping your mind into how we can get better, how we can be more prepared, how we can have less breakdowns both offensively and defensively.
“So as far as the mental side for me, that never changes. I never get to a point where I’m just like out of it. If I’m on the floor, I’m into it the whole time unless I’m not playing or I’m not active so I’m not worried about that.”
James take responsibility for turnovers
A big reason for the Lakers’ loss to the Trail Blazers was their 21 turnovers, with James having six of them. He took responsibility for the loss because of that.
“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.”
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