2: 09 AM ET

  • Dave McMenaminESPN Workers Creator


    • Lakers and NBA reporter for ESPN.
    • Covered the Lakers and NBA for ESPNLosAngeles.com from 2009-14, the Cavaliers from 2014-18 for ESPN.com and the NBA for NBA.com from 2005-09.

BOSTON — LeBron James‘ return from an prolonged absence would possibly well per chance no longer cure the inconsistent play that has plagued his team on both ends and became on corpulent repeat within the Los Angeles Lakers130-108 loss to the Boston Celtics on Friday.

The defeat dropped L.A. — one among the oddsmakers’ favorites to gain the championship — to eight-9 with more than a fifth of the season within the books.

“Or no longer it is never, ‘We got 65 video games left,'” James acknowledged when asked if he can gain the long seek pondering the Lakers’ early accidents and the absolute most life like arrangement worthy of the 82-recreation peculiar-season slate remains. “We damn certain must play better, no topic who is within the lineup. We now absorb our draw and we must always obviously rapid-observe it and recuperate with it so we can play, no topic who is out on the bottom, we can play at a excessive level. … There will not be any longer any level of dismay. But there must be some sense of urgency anytime we gain the bottom.”

James played for the first time in 2½ weeks thanks to an abdominal stress and showed signs of his veteran self, registering 23 elements on 10-for-16 taking pictures, six rebounds, two assists and two steals, nevertheless only three of his shot makes an strive came within the paint, which would possibly well per chance also very effectively be viewed as a signal of the warning the 19-year stale played with, coping with his third indispensable harm within the previous four seasons.

“Physically I felt OK and factual adequate to recollect the truth that I’m in a position to trust my physique and procure out and play tonight,” James acknowledged. “So, I’m more having a expect seeing how I’m feeling the next day to come after I wake up. That is the telltale signal if I’m piquant in essentially the most attention-grabbing route with my harm.”

Who is conscious of what route the Lakers are headed, on the opposite hand.

Boston outrebounded L.A. 51-33 despite starting center Robert Williams III (averaging a team-most attention-grabbing 9.2 rebounds per recreation) out of the lineup.

“I point out … rebound,” acknowledged Russell Westbrook. “Ain’t too worthy that you just would per chance likely also delight in about it. Factual scamper procure the ball. … easy as that.”

And the Lakers, who led by as many as 14 within the first half, saw their third-quarter woes proceed, with the Celtics breaking issues start with a 33-21 quarter out of the damage.

“We now must procure dedicated to playing as a team offensively,” acknowledged Lakers coach Frank Vogel. “And once we delight in, cherish we saw within the first quarter, it looks to be fair and also you undercover agent the capability of what we are in a position to also be. But we got into retaining the ball too worthy and no longer playing for every and every assorted adequate. But that is share of finding out each and every assorted and building that cohesiveness and essentially the most attention-grabbing habits. And then defensively, guys are going to absorb mammoth roles within the event that they decide to the defensive side. And within the event that they form no longer, they will no longer be. Or no longer it is that straightforward.”

The 130 elements by Boston had been essentially the most the Lakers absorb allowed all season.

“We are in a position to exit and compete every evening nevertheless I form no longer win it be our offense, I win it be our defense, honestly,” acknowledged Anthony Davis who led L.A. with 31 elements. “We have correct got to please in a bigger job on the defensive pause.”

For Westbrook, who became outperformed by the point guard he became brought in to interchange, Dennis Schroder — because the Boston guard had 21 elements, six assists and six rebounds to Westbrook’s 12, six and 4 — there became a component of déjà vu. It became another pissed off evening for him and his unusual team as they are making an strive and advance collectively.

“I win the truth of it is miles everyone on the start air absorb the truth is excessive expectations of our team, as they’d also fair easy,” Westbrook acknowledged. “However the truth of it is miles we have not the truth is played with each and every assorted realistically, and no-one cares and everyone asks the an identical seek info from of, and I’m drained of giving the an identical acknowledge to the an identical seek info from of at any time once we lose.

“Or no longer it is cherish, ‘Hi there, how long delight in you suspect it be going to gain?’ We form no longer know. After we gain, it be easy going to gain a whereas. So the truth of it is miles, accurate via the season there would possibly well be going to be ups, there would possibly well be going to be downs. Or no longer it is now what you delight in as a team. You are going to be in a residence to pull apart, otherwise that you just would per chance likely also advance collectively and figure it out.”

The Lakers are easy without Kendrick Nunn (correct knee) and Trevor Ariza (correct ankle), who absorb both but to appear in a recreation this season. And rookie swingman Austin Reaves continues to be sidelined with a hamstring stress.

James acknowledged he would gain to undercover agent the team resolve a relentless inquire of — both going mammoth with DeAndre Jordan and Dwight Howard getting the lion’s share of the minutes at center; or minute, with Davis on the 5 — and sticking to it.

He also would no longer desire the team to bustle from its struggles.

“Or no longer it is never as abominable as it would possibly well per chance also fair appear and it be never as factual as it would possibly well per chance also fair feel,” James acknowledged. “So I cease even keeled accurate via your complete tear. I realize right here’s a mammoth [undertaking]. Or no longer it is miles a job for us. And I’ve always felt joyful when issues are uncomfortable so I inquire of forward to the strategy of us making an strive to recuperate.

“And us bettering. Now no longer making an strive. We can recuperate. We can enhance.”

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