Lakers fall under .500 in LeBron James' return from harm – No degree of panic, however 'needs to be some sense of urgency' – ESPN

BOSTON — LeBron James‘ return from an prolonged absence could not treatment the inconsistent play that has plagued his staff on each ends and was on full show within the Los Angeles Lakers130-108 loss to the Boston Celtics on Friday.
The defeat dropped L.A. — one of many oddsmakers’ favorites to win the championship — to 8-9 with greater than a fifth of the season within the books.
«It is by no means, ‘We received 65 video games left,'» James mentioned when requested if he can take the lengthy view contemplating the Lakers’ early accidents and the way a lot of the 82-game regular-season slate stays. «We rattling certain must play higher, irrespective of who’s within the lineup. We’ve our system and we have to clearly fast-track it and get higher with it so we are able to play, irrespective of who’s out on the ground, we are able to play at a excessive degree. … There isn’t any degree of panic. However there needs to be some sense of urgency anytime we take the ground.»
James performed for the primary time in 2½ weeks due to an stomach pressure and confirmed indicators of his outdated self, registering 23 factors on 10-for-16 taking pictures, six rebounds, two assists and two steals, however solely three of his shot makes an attempt got here within the paint, which might be seen as an indication of the warning the 19-year veteran performed with, coping with his third vital harm prior to now 4 seasons.
«Bodily I felt OK and ok to know that I can belief my physique and get out and play tonight,» James mentioned. «So, I am extra trying ahead to seeing how I am feeling tomorrow after I get up. That’s the telltale signal if I am shifting in the appropriate path with my harm.»
Who is aware of what path the Lakers are headed, nevertheless.
Boston outrebounded L.A. 51-33 regardless of beginning middle Robert Williams III (averaging a team-best 9.2 rebounds per sport) out of the lineup.
«I imply … rebound,» mentioned Russell Westbrook. «Ain’t an excessive amount of you are able to do about it. Simply go get the ball. … easy as that.»
And the Lakers, who led by as many as 14 within the first half, noticed their third-quarter woes proceed, with the Celtics breaking issues open with a 33-21 quarter out of the break.
«We’ve to get dedicated to taking part in as a staff offensively,» mentioned Lakers coach Frank Vogel. «And after we do, like we noticed within the first quarter, it seems lovely and also you see the potential of what we will be. However we received into holding the ball an excessive amount of and never taking part in for one another sufficient. However that is a part of studying one another and constructing that cohesiveness and the appropriate habits. After which defensively, guys are going to have large roles in the event that they decide to the defensive facet. And if they do not, they don’t seem to be. It is that easy.»
The 130 factors by Boston have been essentially the most the Lakers have allowed all season.
«We are able to exit and compete each night time however I do not suppose it is our offense, I feel it is our protection, truthfully,» mentioned Anthony Davis who led L.A. with 31 factors. «We have simply received to do a greater job on the defensive finish.»
For Westbrook, who was outperformed by the purpose guard he was introduced in to exchange, Dennis Schroder — because the Boston guard had 21 factors, six assists and 6 rebounds to Westbrook’s 12, six and 4 — there was a component of déjà vu. It was one other pissed off night time for him and his new staff as they attempt to come collectively.
«I feel the truth of it’s all people on the skin have actually excessive expectations of our staff, as they need to,» Westbrook mentioned. «However the actuality of it’s we have not actually performed with one another realistically, and no person cares and all people asks the identical query, and I am uninterested in giving the identical reply to the identical query each time we lose.
«It is like, ‘Hey, how lengthy do you suppose it will take?’ We do not know. After we win, it is nonetheless going to take a while. So the truth of it’s, all through the season there’s going to be ups, there’s going to be downs. It is now what you do as a staff. You’ll be able to pull aside, or you’ll be able to come collectively and determine it out.»
The Lakers are nonetheless with out Kendrick Nunn (proper knee) and Trevor Ariza (proper ankle), who’ve each but to look in a sport this season. And rookie swingman Austin Reaves continues to be sidelined with a hamstring pressure.
James mentioned he wish to see the staff choose a constant look — both going large with DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard getting the lion’s share of the minutes at middle; or small, with Davis on the 5 — and sticking to it.
He additionally would not need the staff to run from its struggles.
«It is by no means as unhealthy as it might appear and it is by no means pretty much as good as it might really feel,» James mentioned. «So I keep even keeled all through the entire journey. I perceive it is a enormous [undertaking]. It is a course of for us. And I’ve all the time felt snug when issues are uncomfortable so I sit up for the method of us attempting to get higher.
«And us getting higher. Not attempting. We are going to get higher. We are going to enhance.»

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