After missing eight games with an abdominal injury, LeBron James finally made his return for the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night. Unfortunately, that return did not result in a change of fortune for the Lakers as they fell on the road to the hated Boston Celtics, 130-108.
James looked very much like his normal self for the most part in his return game as he finished with 23 points, 6 rebounds and 2 steals in 32 minutes. He also added some signature LeBron plays like a huge slam dunk in the first quarter and a powerful three-point play through multiple fouls in the second.
Despite a solid performance, however, LeBron still felt not quite like his normal self just yet.
“I felt OK, I felt OK. Obviously being out two and a half weeks, I just felt like a rookie again, kind of just being away from the game. But excited, physically I felt okay. Good enough to know that I could trust my body and play tonight,” James said.
“So I’m more looking forward to seeing how I feel tomorrow when I wake up. That is the telltale sign if I’m moving in the right direction with my injury.”
LeBron himself might have felt like a rookie, but it was far from a rookie performance from the 19-year veteran. He hit 10-of-16 from the field and 3-of-7 from 3-point range and there were moments where James looked every bit like the dominant force he has been throughout his career.
The Lakers have dealt with a number of injuries already throughout this season, but none have had more effect on the team than the one suffered by James. L.A. sorely missed his scoring and playmaking, but most importantly, he is the leader of this team and an excellent communicator who greatly increases the their execution rate on both ends.
It sounds as if LeBron is still getting his legs back after being out for so long, but it will only be a matter of time before he is back to normal, which hopefully will mean great things for the Lakers.
Westbrook says he and James still must learn to play together
James and Russell Westbrook really learning how to play together is something that will take time, which the pair hasn’t had much of thanks to the former’s injury. Westbrook understands that there is still a lot of work to do, but also a lot of time to get it done.
“Yeah, we got to figure it out. It’s seven games. We got to figure out how to manage it, which we got a lot of games left to do.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!