While the Los Angeles Lakers have quite the deficit to overcome in order to keep their playoff hopes alive, LeBron James made one thing clear: He’s determined.
Entering the NBA All-Star break, the Lakers have the third-worst record among all Western Conference teams at 27-32. They’ve dealt with a 24-game absence of Anthony Davis and the entirety of the Russell Westbrook saga. Yet, despite it all, Los Angeles is just two games from playoff contention. Aside from the Denver Nuggets and Memphis Grizzlies, the West has been relatively underwhelming with most of the conference being up for grabs.
And James, who notched his 19th All-Star selection, is taking the final stretch very seriously.
“It’s 23 of the most important games of my career for a regular season,” James said before Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game, according to The Athletic. “I’m going to figure out ways to make sure I’m available and on the floor for every single one of these 23 games.”
No doubt about it, James has done his part in helping keep the ship from sinking in Los Angeles. The 38-year-old veteran is on track for another phenomenal season, averaging 30 points with 8.4 rebounds and seven assists in 45 games. James even surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s new all-time leading scorer — further doing his part in bridging the all-time greatest conversation.
James, who has played 20 seasons, has never missed the playoffs in back-to-back campaigns.
“I see myself not being kept out of the postseason two years straight,” James said. “That’s not part of my DNA. We’re sitting here talking about the record, things of that nature, but I’m more passionate about trying to make the postseason and give ourselves a chance to compete for another Larry O’Brien Trophy.”