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Proud to be a Laker: LeBron returns L

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Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James has ’50-50′ chance to return Friday vs. Celtics

MILWAUKEE — After the Los Angeles Lakers lost to the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks 109-102 to fall to 8-8 this season, LeBron James opened the door to making his return from an abdominal strain on Friday in Boston.

«I hope,» James told ESPN on Wednesday when asked if he would play against the Celtics after missing the past eight games and 10 of L.A.’s 16 games because of injury. «I hope.»

While Lakers coach Frank Vogel said James is «day to day,» sources close to James told ESPN that there is a «50-50» chance he will be back in the lineup at the TD Garden.

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In 54 career regular-season games in Boston, James is averaging 28.9 points per game, his highest scoring average in any road arena other than Cleveland, where he has averaged 29.1 points in 17 games as a visitor.

James went through an on-court workout before Wednesday’s game, with Lakers assistant coach Phil Handy putting him through ballhandling and shooting drills. James, who turns 37 next month, paused the workout on a handful of occasions to crouch down in what appeared to be an attempt to stretch out his abdomen.

«I was hoping he was going to play each of the last seven games or whatever it’s been since he’s been out,» Vogel said. «I always hope he’s going to play. I’m always optimistic. He’s still day to day. No decisions are made.»

The coach was asked what hurdles, if any, James would have to clear in order to get the green light to play.

«I’ll leave that to the medical team,» Vogel said. «I know he did some work today. I haven’t gotten the reports on how that went yet. But I’ll leave that between him and the medical team to make the decision of when he’s ready to go.»

L.A. fell to 4-6 without James this season but were 4-2 with him, despite James not playing up to his usual standards.

In those six games, James averaged 24.8 points — his lowest scoring output since averaging 20.9 points as a rookie — while also averaging his least amount of rebounds (5.5) since his rookie year and his least amount of assists (7.0) since 2015-16. His 46.7% shooting mark from the field is also his lowest since shooting 41.7% as a rookie, and his 4.2 turnovers per game are tied with his 2017-18 season for his career high.

When asked to evaluate the Lakers with approximately 20% of the season in the books, Anthony Davis referred to James’ injuries and the roster’s overall lack of health as reasons why it’s difficult to land on an accurate assessment.

«We put a team together and we haven’t seen it yet,» Davis said. » Once we get everybody back, we can kind of see, to be honest. Until then, just got to fight with what we got.»

LeBron James’ return ‘a good start,’ but Lakers fall to Kings

LOS ANGELES — LeBron James paused his pregame free throw routine and stood still just inside the foul line on Friday when he flexed both arms, tilted his head back and let out a guttural roar.

After the longest injury-related layoff of his career — sitting out 20 games in six weeks because of a high ankle sprain to his right leg — James was indeed back.

Fittingly, he found himself with the ball in his hands with a chance to win the game, but his 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds remaining missed and the Los Angeles Lakers lost 110-106 after the Sacramento Kings tacked on a pair of free throws.

The miss marred an otherwise solid return, as James finished with 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting, 8 rebounds and 7 assists with 2 steals and 5 turnovers in 32 minutes. His plus-minus of plus-5 was the best of any Lakers starter.

«For my first game in six weeks, I felt OK,» James said. «As far as my wind, I felt pretty good. As far as my ankle, it was a little tight at times, obviously. . But I came out unscathed and pretty good. So it’s a good start.»

As James shared postgame pleasantries with Kings players, a fan’s shout could be heard from the stands: «We love you, LeBron!»

It was reminiscent of the moments before tipoff when James was the last Lakers player announced in the starting lineup. His scream was matched soon after by a cacophony of cheers from the couple of thousand fans in attendance. The Lakers’ game against the Kings didn’t just mark James’ comeback, it was also the first time he played in front of the home crowd since the coronavirus pandemic put the 2019-20 season on pause and the Lakers went on to win the championship in the Orlando, Florida, restart.

The Lakers, losing for the fifth time in six games with the playoffs fast approaching, look far from a title team at the moment.

«It’s only nine games left,» James said. «It’s just been . it’s been a hell of a season, obviously. . But we look forward to the challenge. It is what it is. This is the season, and we’ve got to make the most out of it.»

Anthony Davis said he wasn’t aware James was going to make his return Friday until he woke up from his pregame nap and Montrezl Harrell texted a meme of a «bunch of people dancing» to the team’s group chat, accompanied by a tweet from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski breaking the news.

Lakers coach Frank Vogel said he encouraged James to take as much time as he needed before returning when James went through a «final test» at the practice facility Friday morning. James said he always felt a duty to get healthy and wasn’t compelled to rush the process just because L.A. was struggling in the standings.

«It’s been urgency for me to get back ever since I got injured. So that’s just who I am,» he said. «You guys could have seen the logging of the minutes and hours per day that I was doing as far as rehab and treatment, it was a lot more than I slept. So over the last six weeks, that’s all I’ve been doing, is having an urgency to get back and play.»

Then James uttered a line he has used before in his career to describe the cumulative effect that injuries have over time on a player.

«I knew I wasn’t going to get back to 100%. It’s impossible,» he said. «I don’t think I will ever get back to 100% in my career.»

While Vogel said he expected some rust when asked about James before the game, James, 36, mostly stood out for his acumen, not because of any atrophy — at least in the early going.

With the clock ticking down in the first quarter, James called for a clearout and drove from beyond the 3-point line to the cup, showing his signature burst as he scored on a double-clutch layup with 1.9 seconds left while being fouled by the Kings’ Maurice Harkless.

Then he went into Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s bag in the second quarter and scored on a sweeping hook shot to tie the score at 34-34. The bucket brought L.A. all the way back after it trailed by as many as 15 in the opening frame.

Early in the fourth quarter, with Sacramento having cut L.A.’s 11-point lead down to seven, James backed Harkless down and scored on a step-back, fadeaway jump shot, displaying precision in his footwork and a shooter’s touch on his hoist that belied his month-and-a-half absence.

After a quick rest, during which the Kings came all the way back to tie it up, James checked back into the game with 5 minutes, 16 seconds remaining for the homestretch.

It was a mixed bag for the 18-year veteran from there.

James turned the ball over with 3:54 left, losing his dribble in the face of routine pressure from Terence Davis on the perimeter, and then followed that by turning it over on the Lakers’ next possession, trying to thread a pass to Davis in the corner. That allowed the Kings to go up 101-97.

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James hit a 3 with 1:50 remaining to cut the Kings’ lead from five points to two, but he airballed a 3 with 1:17 left that could have given L.A. the lead.

While James left the arena with the feeling that comes from a loss, it was still better than not being able to even play.

«It was horrible, honestly, for me. I was more stressful than I’ve ever been,» James said. «But I’m happy I’m playing now, so a little stress relief.»

NBA Finals 2020: LeBron James returns Los Angeles Lakers to glory with MVP performance

Watch a full replay of Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Sky Sports Arena on Monday at 1:30pm

By Shaun Powell, nba.com

Monday 12 October 2020 21:40, UK

LeBron James returned the Los Angeles Lakers to glory with an MVP performance in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.

In the far distant future, when the basketball archeologists start digging for DNA to make sense of the 2020 NBA Finals, what do you suppose they will discover and determine?

  • NBA Finals: LeBron James leads Los Angeles Lakers to 17th championship
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For starters, they’ll be amazed to know that a world champion was crowned after arriving at Disney World rather than before. And studies will show such activity occurred in autumn and not summertime when the Larry O’Brien Trophy is normally awarded.

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Mainly, though, there will be compelling and unimpeachable proof that the Los Angeles Lakers had glory restored at the same place and on the same night LeBron James saw his greatness continue.

«Laker Nation wants their respect, and I want my damn respect, too,» said the player who claimed his fourth title and also a fourth Finals MVP as a parting gift.

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This was a joint celebration of a storied franchise and an age-defying superstar, who needed each other, who took a victory lap together with a gallop after winning the series four games to two over the Miami Heat. The Lakers had missed the playoffs entirely the last six years while LeBron watched them from home last summer after a groin injury got the best of him in his first season in LA.

But then Purple and gold confetti fell almost as rapidly as the Heat in a Game 6 that was a LeBron-infused Laker demolition almost from tip-off; they were up 30 points before half-time. The team and their leader gave it their all on Sunday night in a smashing performance, and the only thing the Lakers left was no doubt.

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That’s 17 titles now for the Lakers, tying the Celtics for the NBA record, and LeBron’s third with as many teams; no all-time great has ever done that.

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What made this dynamic between team and star work is that LeBron felt an important responsibility to see the Lakers through, and vice versa.

«Once he put that trust in us, we had to deliver,» Lakers president Rob Pelinka said. «There was no other option. We are grateful to put him in that position to get his fourth championship.»

Once again, on the highest stage, LeBron was a tornado. He averaged 29.8 points, 11.8 rebounds, 8.5 assists and shot 59.1 per cent in the series. He never had a poor game or showed any slippage or made a grave error. His consistency and high level was remarkable for someone at age 35 and in his 17th season. He also stayed sturdy, a testament to the body that refused to fail him despite all those years of tread wear.

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He previously won titles twice in Miami with a pair of stars, then hauled Cleveland to their first championship ever, then arrived in Los Angeles two summers ago bringing hope and heightened expectations that were a bit unrealistic initially. He didn’t have Anthony Davis then, and after getting injured, he didn’t have the playoffs, either. That slippage struck a nerve within LeBron, and also an untapped source of motivation that pushed him this far.

«It fuelled me because no matter what I have done in my career, there was rumblings of doubt comparing me to the history of the game,» he said.

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As for this latest championship, he and the Lakers did it under unusual circumstances, spending almost four months inside a security-sealed environment caused by a pandemic that delayed the season from March to July. But the journey never wavered — the Lakers lost only five games in the playoffs — and LeBron’s resolve only magnified and solidified in this bubble.

«Going into the unknown» is how he described the Disney trip from start to finish, adding: «Once I got inside here, I said ‘This is my mission. This is why I’m here’. I wanted to keep my energy in the right place.»

He knew what was at stake, the task of restoring shine to the Lakers while pushing his own legend beyond yet another boundary. This was accomplished with a nightly display of leading by example and occasionally dropping triple-doubles and delivering defining plays in each round.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

«I have always believed in LeBron James,» Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. «He is the greatest basketball player the universe has ever seen. It has just been a remarkable experience coaching him. Seeing him take this group that was not in the playoffs last year, with a roster constructed overnight, and taking us to the promised land. I can’t say enough about him.»

Vogel said that witnessing LeBron on game nights doesn’t present the total picture or describe the star’s true meaning to the team, that LeBron’s impact is evident beneath the surface and behind the scenes. Vogel explained: «When you think you know, you don’t know.»

LeBron couldn’t grab this championship, though, without Davis. The Lakers traded their future away last summer in the form of young players and draft picks, and sweetened the deal by tossing in the Hollywood sign and the Santa Monica pier to fetch a co-star. And no matter what happens from here, the Lakers came out ahead in that trade with New Orleans. It freed Davis. It saved LeBron. It restored the franchise.

Davis at times this season was superior to LeBron. In the postseason and all the way until the final game, Davis was a heavy presence at both ends, hitting shots from all over the court and being a defensive intimidator at the opposite rim. Theirs was a partnership that bonded quickly mainly because their personalities and goals were aligned.

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«I can’t really explain it,» James said. «Some things you just know in any type of relationship, you have that feel, that vibe. You can’t explain what links you to somebody and it’s that organic. First thing I think about is the respect between us, no ego. We challenge each other. He wants me to be great, I want him to be great.»

The Lakers enjoyed a bountiful regular season, highlighted by back-to-back wins in early March over the Milwaukee Bucks and LA Clippers — a turning point, according to Vogel. LeBron was massive in those defining wins. Then the season came to an abrupt halt on March 11 when concerns over the coronavirus intensified. The layoff perhaps helped LeBron, if only because it allowed him to delay the uptick in wear-and-tear that goes along with the playoffs. Also, those two contenders that the Lakers beat just before the season halted didn’t show up on their postseason path at Disney.

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The Lakers were also nudged along by the memory and spirit of Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash in January along with his daughter, Gigi, and others.

Pelinka said: «Kobe and Gianna have guided this team all year. For us to be able to win this championship doesn’t take away from the sting of the loss. What it does is allow us to add to their legacy. This Lakers championship of 2020 is to build on that legacy and honour them. The moment couldn’t be any more special.»

For the Buss family, this was yet another triumph. Following their previous title in 2010, there was upheaval and a shift of power within the family ownership, with Jeanie assuming full control. She steered the organisation from the rubble caused by failed trades and free agent signings, elevated Pelinka after an uncomfortable organisational fallout with Magic Johnson, and made the Lakers attractive enough for LeBron to sign as a free agent.

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«Getting Jeanie back in this position is something that fuelled me,» said LeBron. «I know how special it was for her. I’m proud to be a Laker.»

Vogel was hired only after Ty Lue turned down the job. Vogel is a reputable defense-first coach who had the perfect anchor in Davis, and the coach also managed to get LeBron, who was lackluster on that side of the court last season, with the program. It was defense that swamped the Heat in Game 6, limiting Miami to just 36 first-half points and effectively snuffing any chance of a seventh game.

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«Our guys saw the value very early on,» said Vogel. «They brought in.»

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There was supporting help from a few beyond-their-prime stars, mainly Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo. A role player, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, saved his finest moments as a Laker for the Finals when he hit big shots and kept rallies alive.

But make no mistake, this was a LeBron production, pure and simple.

Pelinka: «He’s one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met. The amount of energy he spent keeping his team-mates together and keeping them concentrated on a common goal was incredible.»

Vogel: «To have his mind and to use him as a resource and partner with him, to collaborate decisions on how to move forward with our group was fantastic. Every damn day in film he is leading the charge in getting our team better. I don’t think people can undervalue that.»

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And LeBron, trying to put championship No 4 in perspective:

«They are all special in their own right. One is not less than another. I can’t say one is more difficult than the other. I can say I never won in this atmosphere. This was very challenging and difficult. It played with your mind, your body. You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t have ups and downs in the bubble. I’ve never been without my family this long. Somehow I was able to keep the main thing the main thing. So this is right up there with one of the greatest accomplishments I have.»

When the confetti dropped, LeBron engaged his team-mates in a group hug and dance, a snapshot of gratitude and relief that will remain in this small gym forever. Maybe somewhere there will also be a towel left behind by Davis, who cried into it, his unibrow soaked. Those will serve as clues many years from now for historians searching for what happened on October 11 inside the Disney grounds.

And then there will also be something they won’t find: a single positive coronavirus test.

Watch a full replay of Game 6 of the NBA Finals on Sky Sports Arena on Monday at 1:30pm

Proud to be a Laker: LeBron returns L.A. to glory with MVP performance

LeBron: ‘Once I got inside the Bubble, I said ‘This is my mission. This is why I’m here.’’

In the far distant future, when the basketball archeologists start digging for DNA to make sense of the 2020 NBA Finals, what do you suppose they will discover and determine?

For starters, they’ll be amazed to know that a world champion was crowned after arriving at Disney World rather than before. And studies will show such activity occurred in autumn and not summertime when the Larry O’Brien trophy is normally awarded.

Mainly, though, there will be compelling and unimpeachable proof that the Los Angeles Lakers had glory restored at the same place and on the same night LeBron James saw his greatness continue.

“Laker Nation wants their respect, and I want my damn respect, too,” said the player who claimed his fourth title and also a fourth Finals MVP as a parting gift.

This was a joint celebration of a storied franchise and an age-defying superstar, who needed each other, who took a victory lap together with a gallop after winning the series four games to two over the Miami Heat. The Lakers had missed the playoffs entirely the last six years while LeBron watched them from home last summer after a groin injury got the best of him in his first season in LA.

But then: Purple and gold confetti fell almost as rapidly as the Heat in a Game 6 that was a LeBron-infused Laker demolition almost from tipoff; they were up 30 before halftime. The team and their leader gave it their all Sunday in a smashing performance, and the only thing the Lakers left was no doubt. That’s 17 titles now for the Lakers, tying the Celtics for the NBA record, and LeBron’s third with as many teams; no all-time great has ever done that.

What made this dynamic between team and star work is that LeBron felt an important responsibility to see the Lakers through, and vice versa.

“Once he put that trust in us, we had to deliver,” Lakers president Rob Pelinka said. “There was no other option. We’re grateful to put him in that position to get his fourth championship.”

Once again, on the highest stage, LeBron was a tornado. He averaged 29.8 points, 11.8 rebounds, 8.5 assists and shot 58 percent in the series. He never had a poor game or showed any slippage or made a grave error. His consistency and high level was remarkable for someone at age 35 and in his 17th season. He also stayed sturdy, a testament to the body that refused to fail him despite all those years of tread wear.

He previously won titles twice in Miami with a pair of stars, then hauled Cleveland to its first championship ever, then arrived in Los Angeles two summers ago bringing hope and heightened expectations that were a bit unrealistic initially. He didn’t have Anthony Davis then, and after getting injured, he didn’t have the playoffs, either. That slippage struck a nerve within LeBron, and also an untapped source of motivation that pushed him this far.

“It fueled me because no matter what I’ve done in my career, there was rumblings of doubt comparing me to the history of the game,” he said.

As for this latest championship, he and the Lakers did it under unusual circumstances, spending almost four months inside a security-sealed environment caused by a pandemic that delayed the season from March to July. But the journey never wavered — the Lakers lost only five games in the playoffs — and LeBron’s resolve only magnified and solidified in this bubble.

“Going into the unknown” is how he described the Disney trip from start to finish, adding: “Once I got inside here, I said ‘This is my mission. This is why I’m here.’ I wanted to keep my energy in the right place.”

He knew what was at stake, the task of restoring shine to the Lakers while pushing his own legend beyond yet another boundary. This was accomplished with a nightly display of leading by example and occasionally dropping triple-doubles and delivering defining plays in each round.

I’ve always believed in LeBron James. He’s the greatest basketball player the universe has ever seen.”

— Lakers coach Frank Vogel

“I’ve always believed in LeBron James,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “He’s the greatest basketball player the universe has ever seen. It’s just been a remarkable experience coaching him. Seeing him take this group that was not in the playoffs last year, with a roster constructed overnight, and taking us to the promised land. I can’t say enough about him.”

Vogel said that witnessing LeBron on game nights doesn’t present the total picture or describe the star’s true meaning to the team, that LeBron’s impact is evident beneath the surface and behind the scenes. Vogel explained: “When you think you know, you don’t know.”

LeBron couldn’t grab this championship, though, without Davis. The Lakers traded their future away last summer in the form of young players and draft picks, and sweetened the deal by tossing in the Hollywood sign and the Santa Monica pier to fetch a co-star. And no matter what happens from here, the Lakers came out ahead in that trade with New Orleans. It freed Davis. It saved LeBron. It restored the franchise.

Davis at times this season was superior to LeBron. In the postseason and all the way until the final game, Davis was a heavy presence at both ends, hitting shots from all over the court and being a defensive intimidator at the opposite rim. Theirs was a partnership that bonded quickly mainly because their personalities and goals were aligned.

“I can’t really explain it,” James said. “Some things you just know in any type of relationship, you have that feel, that vibe. You can’t explain what links you to somebody and it’s that organic. First thing I think about is the respect between us, no ego. We challenge each other. He wants me to be great, I want him to be great.”

The Lakers enjoyed a bountiful regular season, highlighted by back-to-back wins in early March over the Bucks and Clippers — a turning point, according to Vogel. LeBron was massive in those defining wins. Then the season came to an abrupt halt on March 11 when concerns over the coronavirus intensified. The layoff perhaps helped LeBron if only because it allowed him to delay the uptick in wear-and-tear that goes along with the playoffs. Also, those two contenders that the Lakers beat just before the season halted didn’t show up on their postseason path at Disney.

The Lakers were also nudged along by the memory and spirit of Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash in January along with his daughter, Gigi, and others.

Pelinka said: “Kobe and Gianna have guided this team all year. For us to be able to win this championship doesn’t take away from the sting of the loss. What it does is allow us to add to their legacy. This Lakers championship of 2020 is to build on that legacy and honor them. The moment couldn’t be any more special.”

For the Buss family, this was yet another triumph. Following their previous title at the start of the decade, there was upheaval and a shift of power within the family ownership, with Jeanie assuming full control. She steered the organization from the rubble caused by failed trades and free agent signings, elevated Pelinka after an uncomfortable organizational fallout with Magic Johnson, and made the Lakers attractive enough for LeBron to sign as a free agent.

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“Getting Jeanie back in this position is something that fueled me,” said LeBron. “I know how special it was for her. I’m proud to be a Laker.”

Vogel was hired only after Ty Lue turned down the job. Vogel is a reputable defense-first coach who had the perfect anchor in Davis, and the coach also managed to get LeBron, who was lackluster on that side of the court last season, with the program. It was defense that swamped the Heat in Game 6, limiting Miami to just 36 first-half points and effectively snuffing any chance of a seventh game.

“Our guys saw the value very early on,” said Vogel. “They brought in.”

There was supporting help from a few beyond-their-prime stars, mainly Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo. A role player, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, saved his finest moments as a Laker for The Finals when he hit big shots and kept rallies alive.

But make no mistake, this was a LeBron production, pure and simple.

Pelinka: “He’s one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met. The amount of energy he spent keeping his teammates together and keeping them concentrated on a common goal was incredible.”

Vogel: “To have his mind and to use him as a resource and partner with him, to collaborate decisions on how to move forward with our group was fantastic. Every damn day in film he’s leading the charge in getting our team better. I don’t think people can undervalue that.”

And LeBron, trying to put championship No. 4 in perspective:

“They’re all special in their own right. One is not less than another. I can’t say one is more difficult than the other. I can say I never won in this atmosphere. This was very challenging and difficult. It played with your mind, your body. You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t have ups and downs in the bubble. I’ve never been without my family this long. Somehow I was able to keep the main thing the main thing. So this is right up there with one of the greatest accomplishments I have.”

When the confetti dropped, LeBron engaged his teammates in a group hug and dance, a snapshot of gratitude and relief that’ll remain in this small gym forever. Maybe somewhere there will also be a towel left behind by Davis, who cried into it, his unibrow soaked. Those will serve as clues many years from now for historians searching for what happened Oct. 11 inside the Disney grounds.

And then there’ll be something they won’t find:

A single positive coronavirus test.

Shaun Powell has covered the NBA for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter .

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

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LeBron James injury update: Lakers star could return vs. Celtics in Boston on Friday, per report

LeBron hasn’t played since Nov. 2 due to an abdominal strain

The Los Angeles Lakers have gotten off to a slow start this season, in large part because LeBron James has played just six games so far. He missed two games early on due to a sprained ankle and is currently sidelined with an abdominal strain that has kept him out since Nov. 2.

Fortunately for the Lakers, a return of the four-time champion could come later this week. As L.A. hits the road for a five-game road trip this week, there’s «growing optimism» that James could return on Friday against the Boston Celtics, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

That update comes just a day after head coach Frank Vogel said James has been «progressing great» in his on-court workouts, though he has yet to be a full participant in practice. Both of those will be pre-requisites for LeBron getting back on the court, and it seems like that could happen in enough time for him to suit up for the Boston game.

While the 36-year-old LeBron is no longer at the peak of his powers, his return will obviously be a welcome sight for the Lakers. He’s still putting up 24.8 points, 5.5 rebounds and seven assists per game, and controls the game like few others in the league. It’s no surprise that their offense has been 8.4 points per 100 possessions better with him on the floor than with him off.

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Through 15 games, the Lakers are 4-2 when he plays, compared to 4-5 when he sits, and are currently in seventh place in the crowded Western Conference at 8-7. There’s still plenty of season left to play, but the longer they have to play without LeBron the worse for the Lakers. As we saw last season when they ended up in the play-in tournament because of a lost tiebreaker, one game can make all the difference in terms of seeding and matchups for the playoffs.

LeBron James leads Lakers to win over Pistons with 33 points

Pistons have lost their last six games

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T he Los Angeles Lakers are back at .500 (11-11) after beating the Detroit Pistons (4-16) at Staples Center. All eyes were onIsaiah Stewart after his altercation with LeBron James during their previous meeting this season.

Lakers held Stewart to five points in 27 minutes on 2 of 7 from the field. The 20-year-old big man added six rebounds, one assist, and one block to his statline with no further incidents.

King James takes charge

James led the Lakers in scoring with 33 points, scoring 4 of his 9 three-point attempts after shooting 2-13 from beyond the arc against the Sacramento Kings. He also recorded five rebounds, nine assists, two steals, and one block to give the Lakers their eleventh win of the season.

Russell Westbrook and Anthony Davis combined for 49 points. Westbrook put up 25 with 6 boards and 9 assists, while Davis had 24, and 11 rebounds.

The game nearly got out-of.hand for LA

The first half of play was a back-and-forth battle that ended with a 2-point Laker lead. Lakers came back from intermission with a purpose, going on a huge scoring run to have one of their best third quarters this year.

What seemed like a sure win for Los Angeles, who were up by 12 to start the final period of play, quickly turned into a close matchup while James rested on the bench. Pistons went on a run led by Jerami Grant, who scored 32 points on the night, and were one basket short of tying the ballgame.

Number one draft pick Cade Cunningham had a 15-point night with 11 rebounds, but continued to struggle shooting the ball. Cunningham shot 6 of 16 from the field and turned the ball over five times.

LeBron James reaggravates abdominal strain

James took over down the stretch, driving to the rim and getting to the line to ice the game. Bumped on one of his routes to the hoop, the King was adamant that the referees missed a foul.

He started grabbing the side of his stomach and finished the game despite the pain. James previously sat out multiple games with an abdominal strain, so Lakers Nation will be holding their breath until Frank Vogel gives an update.

Back to SAC-Town

Lakers will now head to Golden 1 Center on Tuesday to face the Kings again after their triple overtime thriller that ended in a loss for LA.

Pistons will try to snap their losing streak against the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday.

Источники:

http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/32658504/los-angeles-lakers-lebron-james-50-50-chance-return-friday-vs-celtics

http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/31366950/lebron-james-returns-ankle-sprain-friday-vs-sacramento-kings

http://www.skysports.com/nba/news/36244/12102469/nba-finals-2020-lebron-james-returns-los-angeles-lakers-to-glory-with-mvp-performance

http://www.nba.com/news/lebron-legacy-heat-lakers-championship

http://www.cbssports.com/nba/news/lebron-james-injury-update-lakers-star-could-return-vs-celtics-in-boston-on-friday-per-report/

http://www.marca.com/en/basketball/nba/2021/11/29/61a465a2ca4741bb778b457b.html

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