Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James put on a performance for the ages in his first game back from a one-game suspension with his 39-point clutch night against the Indiana Pacers. In his follow-up game against the Sacramento Kings, however, James was nowhere near as satisfied with his outing.
LeBron’s numbers looked great overall as he led the Lakers with 30 points to go along with 11 assists and seven rebounds. But he shot just 2-of-13 from 3-point range, which largely contributed to his 40% shooting night overall and compounded that with seven turnovers in the Lakers’ 141-137 loss to the Kings in triple-overtime.
A player of LeBron’s stature will always hold himself to a higher standard than anyone else possibly could and he made that clear after the game.
“We’re all disgusted at losses. That’s the way it is,” James said. “Also, at the same time, we have to stay even-keeled throughout the whole process and understand that we can get better from our losses and we can get better from our wins. We obviously would not like to be one game under .500 a fourth into the season, but we know we have more room to improve, we have a lot more room to improve. We haven’t been full to start the season.
“Obviously, I haven’t played many games. I’ve been in and out of the lineup. We still have two of our guys that haven’t played at all yet in TA [Trevor Ariza] and K-Nunn [Kendrick Nunn]. Make no mistake we still have to play Laker basketball, we still have to defend at a high level, we have to share the ball offensively and not turn the ball over. Obviously tonight, horrible turnovers on my part. I feel like I played a horrible game individually and I hold myself to a higher standard than that. I have to better for this team, especially when we’re going through what we’re going through right now out on the floor.”
At the end of regulation and the first overtime, LeBron had a chance to win the game for the Lakers but missed deep 3-pointers in both instances. While the shot in overtime was understandable as the Lakers had to go the full length of the court with no timeouts, the shot in regulation was another instance of the Lakers choosing to shoot a three instead of attacking the basket in a tie game.
Regardless of all of the specifics in the contest, it was another instance of a winnable game being squandered away by the Lakers. The team held a 13-point fourth-quarter lead, but James and co. failed to put the game away. But despite the ongoing struggles, LeBron still believes there is plenty of room for growth with these Lakers.
“I think there is room for us to continue to improve. Obviously, it was a long trip for us. The first game after a long trip is always the hardest, going to come get your foot from underneath. The first couple quarters we started seeing some good basketball. The third and the fourth went into overtime still. It gave us another chance to win but we just didn’t have enough to go down. They made some big shots, Buddy made some big shots obviously, De’Aaron all night made some big shots and they were able to take the game from us.”
Even with the other superstars on this team, the Lakers will go as far as James carries them and rest assured if he isn’t satisfied with his performance, he will put in the work to make sure there isn’t a repeat one.
James tries to stay ‘balanced’ offensively
It’s clear that James has worked on his jumped over the years to improve it, but in this game, it simply wasn’t falling. He made six of his seven attempts at the rim while going just 2-for-13 from three.
“It is a balance. I think of my 25 shots, 13 of them were threes and the rest were in the paint besides a couple of my post moves, but that’s a high-percentage shot for me. But I always just try to play a balanced game and tonight it just wasn’t going for myself or AD from the perimeter. But we still had opportunities to win.”
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