LeBron James has carried the Los Angeles Lakers on his shoulders for the past couple of weeks, believing they will eventually develop into one of the title favorites despite a tough first part of the season.
James has averaged 33.8 points, 10.8 rebounds and 6.0 assists over the last eight games. But the Lakers lost six of those clashes, grappling with a coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and injuries in addition to facing their NBA opponents.
L.A. still has a negative record (18-19) despite beating the Portland Trail Blazers 139-106 on Friday. But James thinks the Purple and Gold’s crisis has come to an end having all of the team’s players cleared to face the Blazers.
“Over the last five games, we’ve continued to add another piece of our nucleus back,” the four-time NBA champion said. “One game here, another game here, we add more and we get all our guys back that know our system, that know what we want to do.
“We’re getting our glue guys back like Austin Reaves, Avery Bradley, Trevor Ariza, all our guys that do the dirty work for us. And that’s something that we were missing when those guys were out in protocols. Our dirty work guys, our glue guys. And now as they continue to come back in, now we added another dirty work player and glue guy in Stanley Johnson over the last couple games.”
James believes he will receive much more support from the rest of the team now that the Lakers have weathered the coronavirus-induced storm.
“It just helps and it’s my job to make sure that when I’m out on the floor, that I put everybody in position,” he said.
“And it’s Russ’ job to hold people accountable, hold himself accountable, and me to hold myself accountable as we continue to get better. So it’s just good that we’re getting our guys back now.”
James explains his scoring streak after 43-point performance in win over Blazers
James has scored 31 points or more in the last seven games, registering his season-high of 43 points against the Blazers. The 37-year-old All-Star says his extraordinary scoring streak partly stems from Anthony Davis’ absence, as the 28-year-old forward will miss at least another couple of weeks with an MCL sprain in his left knee.
James added he takes pride in his efficiency more than scoring itself — he has been shooting 56.3% from the floor and 41.3% from the 3-point land over the last eight games.
“I think anytime you lose a 25-point scorer or more, then I think everyone has to pick their game up offensively, including myself,” James said after the win over the Blazers. “And if that’s what our team needs then I’m OK with that. But along that road, I still take pride in being efficient. I’m not a guy that just goes out and sees if I can jack up a bunch of shots.
“I want to be efficient every single night anytime I’m playing. Along this streak I’ve been on as far as my scoring, I’ve been extremely efficient as well and I take way more pride in that than the scoring. That’s just who I am as a basketball player.”
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