LeBron James isn't panicking after an 8-9 start to the year but he has acknowledged that the Los Angeles Lakers need to play better. On Friday, the Lakers suffered another disappointing loss as the Boston Celtics routed the Purple and Gold 130-108.
"It's never, 'We got 65 games left,'" James said when asked if he can take the long view considering the Lakers' early injuries and how much of the 82-game regular-season slate remains. "We damn sure need to play better, no matter who is in the lineup.
We have our system and we need to obviously fast-track it and get better with it so we can play, no matter who is out on the floor, we can play at a high level. ... There's no level of panic, but there should be some sense of urgency any time we take the floor."
James felt fine in his return
James was sidelined for more than two weeks before returning to the lineup on Friday. James posted 23 points and six rebounds in a loss to the Celtics. "Physically I felt OK and good enough to know that I can trust my body and get out and play tonight," James said.
"So I'm more looking forward to seeing how I'm feeling tomorrow when I wake up. That is the telltale sign if I'm moving in the right direction with my injury." The Lakers made a good start to the game on the offensive end as they led by as many as 14 in the first half.
"We have to get committed to playing as a team offensively," said Lakers coach Frank Vogel. "And when we do, like we saw in the first quarter, it looks beautiful and you see the potential of what we can be.
But we got into holding the ball too much and not playing for each other enough. But that's part of learning each other and building that cohesiveness and the right habits. And then defensively, guys are going to have big roles if they commit to the defensive side.
And if they don't, they're not. It's that simple." Meanwhile, Lakers big man Anthony Davis suggested the more focus needs to be put on the defensive side of the flloor. "We can go out and compete every night, but I don't think it's our offense.
I think it's our defense, honestly," said Davis, who led the Lakers with 31 points. "We've just got to do a better job on the defensive end."