At 28-29, the Los Angeles Lakers find themselves on the outside of the playoffs looking in as things currently stand. The team has 25 games to turn things around and make a run and the pressure will be on LeBron James to get them there.
James’ addition to the franchise immediately changed expectations, as a playoff berth was now expected rather than hoped for. Now in an unfamiliar position, James understands the team’s need to step things up and that starts with him.
“It’s been quite a while for me that I’ve been under .500 going into the All-Star break. I don’t remember the last time,” James noted. “My level of intensity has to be [higher], unfortunately for me, because I don’t like to do it at such an early time. But it’s been activated.”
James has grown accustomed to picking his spots throughout the season, making sure to save up his energy for what usually turned into a long playoff run since he never had concerns about actually getting there. But in the Western Conference, with this young Lakers team, James doesn’t have that luxury. Still, he is embracing the challenge.
“I’m all about being uncomfortable. I love being uncomfortable,” he said. “I fall in love with being uncomfortable. This is another uncomfortable thing for me, and I love it. I enjoy being counted out. I know I’m ready for the challenge”
There remains some concern about James’ physical health as he only recently recovered from a groin strain and hasn’t looked quite like himself in his couple of games back. James however isn’t worried, even noting that getting into this mode is more about the mental side, because physically he’s fine.
“The physical side is there. I feel pretty good where I’m at physically. I’m rounding third base, sliding into home. And I’m sliding in clean, too.”
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