The Los Angeles Lakers couldn’t present themselves with a win on Christmas Day despite another monster performance from LeBron James against the Brooklyn Nets.
James ended the night with 39 points, seven assists and eight rebounds, spearheading the fourth-quarter comeback from a 23-point deficit. But the Lakers eventually fell 122-115 despite tying things up with just 45 seconds left in the game.
The James-less minutes again set L.A. back, leading to a fifth straight defeat. The four-time NBA champion wasn’t in action for just over eight minutes. During that time, the Lakers got outscored by 16 points.
But James said he will continue carrying the load for the team for as long as it’s necessary.
“It is what it is,” James said. “Go back and watch the film and see if there’s ways or opportunities that I could’ve been a step sooner or a step faster to a loose ball or to a rebound or I had a couple turnovers tonight. If there was an opportunity where I didn’t have three turnovers, maybe one could we be a lot better offensively.
“I try to do my part when I’m on the floor. Carry the load. Do a little bit on both sides and just try to lead by example and also lead with my voice. It’s obviously been difficult throughout this stretch, but that won’t stop me, I’m going to continue to do what I’m doing.”
James admitted patience doesn’t belong among his strengths. The 36-year-old All-Star called on his teammates to leave everything on the floor when they enter the game.
But he also added he understands the Lakers have been dealing with some extraordinary circumstances lately.
“Well, I’m not a very patient person, obviously,” James said. “Under the circumstances, obviously, without our head coach. Tonight, we finally got a couple of our key guys back, but we’re still missing a few. You just try to stay even keel. Obviously, this losing streak isn’t something that none of us want, but nobody is going to feel sorry for you.
“Nobody’s going to feel sorry for our record… Everybody besides I think Golden State [Warriors] and Phoenix [Suns]. Everybody has guys out. When you get your opportunity when you get your number called just make the most of it and go out and play. Play our system. It’s even challenging for some of the new guys because they haven’t been in the system long enough exactly when we want to execute, but tonight they just played hard. DC came in played extremely hard.
“Obviously, Stanley [Johnson] came in and also Malik [Monk], even though part of our system and has been out two weeks. It was good to have that energy that we was able to give our fans and our fans to give it back to us.”
James supports Westbrook after ‘off shooting night’
Russell Westbrook shot just 20% from the field on Christmas Day, ending the night 4-for-20. James admitted his All-Star partner had ‘an off shooting night’ against the Nets.
But the Lakers’ leader pointed out Westbrook’s input in other areas, adding he wasn’t concerned about the 2017 NBA MVP’s shooting woes on Saturday.
“I think his decision-making was spectacular tonight,” James said. “He had 11 assists, he had 12 rebounds, five of them offensive, and we know we’re not one of the better offensive rebounding teams in this league.
“He gave us extra possessions. He just missed a lot of looks around the basket, which I know he can’t stand as well, but as far as the effort piece, the guy plays hard, and the guy leaves it on the floor. I got no problem with that. It’s a make or miss league.”
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