LeBron James Proud Of Lakers’ Success While He Was Injured; Hoping To Get Above Play-In Tournament
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James made his return to the Los Angeles Lakers lineup on Sunday afternoon, finishing with 19 points and eight rebounds in a 10-point loss to the Chicago Bulls. The loss was an unfortunate one as the Lakers are in the midst of a tight playoff race, but the fact that they find themselves in the position they are in despite LeBron’s injury is a success in itself.

Many believed the Lakers season was done when James injured his right foot, but the team went 8-5 in his absence and still have a chance to climb out of the Play-In Tournament completely. Even though he hated being on the sideline, LeBron was extremely happy to see the Lakers thrive during that time.

“Obviously, it sucks not being able to play, but definitely very proud of the team,” LeBron said after his return. “When I was out, I was watching them compete at a high level. Playing the game the right way. Playing Laker basketball. They put us in position to be able to go down the stretch and be able to put ourself in playoff position, so that was fun to see.”

With seven games remaining in the season, the Lakers currently find themselves in ninth in the West, but just 1.5 games behind the sixth-seeded Golden State Warriors. With a strong end to the season, the Lakers could find themselves in a prime playoff position and James admitted that opportunity pushed him to get back as soon as possible.

“Of course. I mean, of course,” LeBron added. “They got 8-5 and now we’re sitting at a chance to be able to … the hell with the Play-in, we actually can be a top-eight seed. That definitely changed my mindset on me coming back and try to be a part of this. I don’t want to say change my mindset, it enhanced what I was trying to do as far as my workouts and as far as my treatment and everything.

“But they played such great basketball and I was just ecstatic from me being in a boot to getting out of the boot. You guys saw me on the sidelines and feel so happy about what the guys were doing. So I definitely wanted to be a part of it.”

Now it will simply be a matter of this roster coming together and reaching their potential. If the supporting cast can continue to play at a high level, along with LeBron and Anthony Davis being dominant, this team can hang with anyone in the league.

Anthony Davis believes LeBron James returning early gives Lakers time to ‘work out the kinks’

Davis is certainly happy to have James back on the court and even though things didn’t go the Lakers’ way in his first game back, the former believes his return now gives the team time to come together.

“Obviously, like I said, he’s a big part of our team,” Davis said. Him coming back with eight games left, it gives us the time to work out the kinks that we’ll have when a guy misses so much time. It gives him time to get back in a rhythm of things for his game. Then two games left, three games left. Even though he’s a hell of a player, he can use one game and be fine. But we’ll be fine.

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