LeBron James Calls Lakers’ Final 23 Regular Season Games Most Important Of His Career
LeBron James, Lakers
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

With All-Star Weekend officially over, the focus for the Los Angeles Lakers turns to this final stretch of games. The Lakers have 23 games remaining to make a push for the playoffs and in order for that to happen, both LeBron James and Anthony Davis will need to be at their best.

After missing the playoffs last season, LeBron and the Lakers are determined to not allow that to happen a second straight year. And despite 20 NBA seasons, James believes this upcoming stretch is one of the most important of his career.

“It’s 23 of the most important games of my career for a regular season,” LeBron said prior to Sunday’s All-Star Game. “It’s the type of mindset that I have and I hope the guys will have coming back off the break.”

It will definitely take the entire team embracing this mindset for the Lakers to reach their potential. But considering how many regular season games LeBron has played in his career, he would elaborate as to why he feels this way. “Because I want to make a push to make the playoffs,” the Lakers star added. “I don’t want to see myself not being part of the postseason for two years straight. It’s just not part of my DNA.

“We’re sitting up here talking about the record and things of that nature, and that’s all cool, but I’m more passionate about trying to make the postseason and give ourselves a chance to compete for another Larry O’Brien Trophy. That’s just who I am. That’s what I’m cut from. So I hope I can figure out a way to just make sure that I’m available on the floor every single night for these 23 games to give us a chance, give our group a chance to be able to compete every night and give ourselves a chance to win every night so we can give ourselves a chance to get into the postseason.”

Health has been the issue for the Lakers since winning the 2020 NBA Championship. This season, both James and Davis have missed portions of the season due to injury. And while the team has done well to stay afloat, the Lakers simply won’t be able to make that postseason push without both on the court.

For LeBron, his left foot has been an issue much of the season, but coming out of the All-Star break, he is feeling better. “This couple of days has helped, not having to stress it being out on the floor. So it’s helped,” James said. “I’m going to try not to go too crazy in the game. I’m going to have some fun, but not go too crazy.

“The most important thing for me right now is to maintain my health and be available to my teammates after this break because we have to make a strong push if we want to do anything special. So feeling pretty good right now. I came out of the game Wednesday feeling pretty good.”

Both of the Lakers stars undoubtedly benefitted from some time off and now the Lakers should be operating on all cylinders for these final games.

Lakers’ LeBron James sits out second half of All-Star Game with hand contusion

James wasn’t quite able to escape the All-Star Game with no issues, unfortunately. Late in the second quarter, LeBron hit his hand on the rim trying to block Pascal Siakam, suffering a hand contusion and sitting out the rest of the game. But the Lakers star insisted he was just fine.

“Coach Malone is a defense-minded coach. I had him in my early days in Cleveland. I told him I would get one stop tonight for him,” James said. “I tried to get one little chase-down block, and got my finger caught in the rim. But I’ll be fine. I’ll be fine. I don’t think it’s too much to worry about. For precautionary reasons, I just had to take the rest of the night off.”

There was certainly no reason for LeBron to push himself to play in the All-Star Game, but thankfully he will be perfectly fine when the Lakers are back on the court Thursday night.

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