While LeBron James and Los Angeles Lakers somewhat surprisingly tipped off the 2018-19 NBA season on the road with a matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers, they now are at Staples Center to face the Houston Rockets in their home opener.
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James’ debut with the Lakers played a role in TNT recording impressive TV ratings, and there’s plenty of buzz surrounding a rare Saturday home game for the Lakers. That it’s coming against a formidable opponent such as the Rockets makes it all the more intriguing.
“There’s a lot of excitement today. A lot of excitement from our fans, from the city,” James said after shootaround. “And we’re excited to showcase to our fans what we’ve been working on the last month.
“I can promise to our fans we’re not the same team tonight that we’re going to be in January or February, but we will be extremely excited to get out there and play in front of them. I’m excited for the game tonight, the team is excited. It’s going to be fun.”
James has often discussed being aware of the magnitude of playing for the Lakers carries, but he doesn’t consider Saturday to be a moment to cherish just yet. “It’s not in my DNA. I’ve never been a guy to kind of take a moment in the present,” James said.
“I think when I’m done playing the game of basketball, I’ll look back on tonight or some of the nights I’ve had in my career and be like, ‘That was an unbelievable night.’ To have the opportunity to play the game, things that I love to do at this level, those are things that I definitely don’t take for granted.”
Although James is looking forward to taking the court for his first regular-season home game with the Lakers, the focus remains on the task at hand and improving on a loss to the Trail Blazers.
“The main thing for us is to get better from the Portland game,” HE stressed. “We had spurts in that game where we played well. We had some spurts where we didn’t play so well, so we want to continue to improve.”