LeBron Returns But Lakers Continue to Struggle

LeBron James rising up for a layup
LeBron James. Photo by Imaginechina/REX/Shutterstock (9818466f)

The Los Angeles Lakers and their hardcore devoted fans were hoping that the return of LeBron James would mean a few wins to help them climb higher in the Western Conference playoff race. Unfortunately, two games into James’ return, they’re two losses even deeper.

In a game against the Sacramento Kings on Friday, the Lakers lost 110-106, with LeBron missing a three-pointer that would’ve clinched the victory for them. On Sunday night, the Lakers lost yet again—this time to the Toronto Raptors, and James also left the game towards the end with a sore ankle.

To be fair, James hasn’t been feeling 100%, as he stated after their weekend loss against the Kings: “I know getting back to 100% is impossible. I’ll never get back to 100% in my career. But I felt comfortable where I knew I could get on the floor and help my team win.”

Clearly, James still feels very capable of getting the Lakers up and running, a sentiment echoed by head coach Frank Vogel after the Sacramento game: “I thought he looked great. I was very encouraged with how he looked.”

Unfortunately, James doesn’t have the luxury of time to “shake of the rust”, as they say. The Lakers are currently neck in neck with both Portland and Dallas for a highly coveted sixth seed, whereas if they slip any lower they’ll be forced to compete in a play-in tournament for the NBA playoffs.