LeBron James Delivers Strong Statement on Lakers Role Players

LeBron James Delivers Strong Statement on Lakers Role Players

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Lakers star LeBron James.

With Anthony Davis sidelined with an injury, even greater responsibility has fallen on LeBron James to carry the Los Angeles Lakers as they look to keep pace in the competitive Western Conference.

James has averaged 37.7 minutes in the month of February, up nearly 4 minutes per game from January. He’s averaging 25.6 points, 8.2 rebounds and 7.9 assists, putting himself firmly in the MVP conversation. But if the Lakers aren’t winning, none of that matters.

The defending champs have lost three of their last four games after winning seven straight. Davis exited during the loss to Denver on Feb. 14 and is expected to miss four weeks.

“Right now is another challenge for me, to be able to adjust,” James said, per The Athletic. “Not having AD for a long period of time is something that we haven’t had over the last year and a half. And now it’s time for me to adjust again and see ways I can be even more effective to help this team win ballgames. Because that is the sport that we’re in.

“We’re in the winning business and I’ve always been a winner. So, it’s time to click into that.”

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope: Lakers ‘Putting a Lot on Bron’

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GettyKentavious Caldwell-Pope & LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Lakers shot just 39.3% from the field against the Heat in a 96-94 loss, hitting on just 28.9% of their 3-pointers. James shot his worst percentage of the season from the field (33%) and was just 1-of-8 from beyond the arc.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hit more than one 3-pointer for just the second time this month against the Heat. He admitted the Lakers role players need to do more to help LeBron out.

“I feel like the last couple games that’s been happening, putting a lot on Bron,” Caldwell-Pope told reporters after the loss. “We already know what we’re going to get out of him. So all the rest of us, we’ve got to continue to just play hard and just play basketball and not worry about anything else.

“We do ask Bron for a lot; he gives us a lot each and every game,” Caldwell-Pope added. “It’s up to us as far as like role players and ‘next man up’ mentality, we’ve got to be ready and locked in.”

James does not agree, feeling that the role players have done their part.

“They are doing their part,” James said, per ESPN. “They’re doing their part and more.”

Lakers Feel They Have Enough Firepower to Win Without Starters

What hasn’t helped is that the Lakers are also missing Dennis Schroder, one of the team’s primary ball-handlers and playmakers. He’s going to be out at least the next two games because he’s in a seven-day quartine after coming in contact with COVID-19.

Some shooting woes have slowed down the Lakers as well, as they are the worst 3-point shooting team in the NBA over the last 15 games, hitting at just a 30.1% clip.

“We had a strong start this season with LeBron off the floor and it’s tailed off a little bit of late because our whole team has sort of tailed off with our perimeter shooting of late,” Vogel said. “But we have plenty of firepower to get the job done. Bron, he commands the ball and runs the show when he’s out there. So there’s a natural void when he’s not. It’s just one of those things we have to be mindful of, making sure we’re organized and giving a plan to those guys who are in there.”

The Lakers will look to turn things around against the 10-17 Wizards on Monday before facing the first-place Utah Jazz on Wednesday.

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