LeBron James talks ‘sacrifice’ he’s making for the Lakers during playoff push
LOS ANGELES – After an ugly stretch heading into the All-Star break, the Los Angeles Lakers have gotten off to an impressive start to the final 25 games of their regular season. LeBron James and company were able to erase a 19-point deficit against the Houston Rockets on Thursday night at the Staples Center to pull off the win in order to get back to .500 on the season with a record of 29-29.
Although the first half wasn’t pretty for the Lakers as they didn’t seem to have any fight in them, the team rallied in the second half with a different energy and focus that was enough to lead them to victory behind solid performances from LeBron and Brandon Ingram.
After the game, James spoke to the media about his gritty performance which included a critical charge call on James Harden and a brutal foul from Chris Paul. LeBron talked about the sacrifice he’s making as the team tries to make a push for the playoffs in the final stretch for the 2018-19 campaign.
“I’m just an all-around basketball player,” LeBron said. “You can’t give me a position. I’m just a ballplayer. Put me on the floor; I’m going to make plays offensively and defensively. I sacrifice my body, sacrifice for my team.”
James finished the game with a team-high 29 points to go along with 11 rebounds and six assists. His play was crucial down the stretch as they closed the gap against Houston team that was in control for the majority of the contest.
The three-time NBA champion talked about his comments earlier in the week about taking his game to another level in order to get this team back in the playoff hunt in a competitive Western Conference.
“It wasn’t that I needed to reach a different level,” James said. “It was that I needed to be in that level right now under the circumstances that we’re in. Just kickstarting something a little bit earlier than I’ve done in the past. I like where I’m at. I will love where I’m at in the next few games. I believe we’ll continue to get better and better. Tonight was a good step in the right direction.”
The Lakers will now embark on a two-game road trip before what will undoubtedly be a tough stretch of games against playoff-caliber teams. James and company will take on Anthony Davis’ New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday followed by a matchup with the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday.
Luke Walton’s squad won’t be back on the Staples Center floor until Wednesday when they’ll play the Pelicans once more.
With the New Orleans and Memphis struggling right now and possibly thinking more about the NBA Draft than finishing the rest of the season strong, the Lakers have an opportunity to get three games above .500. This would put some much-needed pressure on the Sacramento Kings and L.A. Clippers who sit above them in the West standings in the race for the eighth seed.