Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James hailed the depth within the NBA champions covering the absence of injured star Anthony Davis in Tuesday's 112-104 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Davis suffered an Achilles strain during Sunday's loss to the Denver Nuggets, though he avoided a rupture as he sat out the Timberwolves clash.

In his absence, James posted 30 points, had 13 rebounds and seven assists, but also had support from German guard Dennis Schroder (24 points), who arrived from Oklahoma City Thunder in the offseason.

James is averaging 25.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, 7.9 assists per game this season, with a .759 win percentage. According to Stats Perform, this is the fourth time in his illustrious career he is averaging 25/seven/seven while winning at least 75 per cent of his games played in a season. No other player in NBA history has had such a season.

Fellow recruits Marc Gasol (11 points and five rebounds), Montrezl Harrell (17 points off the bench) and Wesley Matthews also all earned praise also from the four-time NBA MVP.

"To have the production that we had tonight from our group, Dennis, Trez, Wes and Marc they were huge for us," James told Spectrum Sportsnet post-game.

'We went out in the offseason and got some really good pieces. Tonight was an example of that.

"We had one of our biggest pieces out and everyone came in and chipped in a bit more."

Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis has been cleared of a suspected rupture of his right Achilles tendon following an MRI scan.

Davis, who left Sunday's 122-105 loss to the Denver Nuggets after suffering an Achilles strain, will miss Tuesday's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves and will be further evaluated by the NBA champions upon his return to Los Angeles.

The seven-time All-Star missed two games against the Oklahoma City Thunder with tendonosis in his right heel before returning in a win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday.

After posting 35 points against the Grizzlies, Davis only lasted 14 minutes – finishing with 15 points – as the Lakers went down to the Nuggets.

Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis said he felt "completely fine" before aggravating an Achilles injury in the NBA champions' defeat to the Denver Nuggets as he awaits the results of an MRI scan.

Davis, who posted 15 points in 14 minutes, suffered an Achilles strain in the Lakers' 122-105 loss to the Nuggets on Sunday.

The seven-time All-Star was held out of the second half as the Lakers saw their seven-game winning streak snapped.

Davis, who returned from a two-game absence caused by Achilles tendonitis on Friday, will undergo a scan on Monday.

"Just driving, I think that last step kind of re-aggravated the injury I already had," he said. "Now, it feels like an Achilles sprain. 

"Got an MRI tomorrow and try to figure out the next steps to get on the floor."

Davis – who insisted he and the Lakers followed all the right steps for his initial return – added: "Today was the first day that it felt completely fine. I didn't feel it at all this morning, afternoon, pre-game. I felt like I was heading in the right direction. 

"The treatment and rehab side. Another setback but it's part of the game. More so frustrated that I couldn't go out there and play, but you don't want to mess around with this type of injury. Trying to figure out the best steps.

"I felt great coming back the first time against Memphis [Grizzlies]. I'll do the same thing, the same steps to get it back right. Be smarter with it, I was smart the first time, but even smarter this time. Up the treatment more to get it back where it used to be to help the team."

Superstar Lakers team-mate LeBron James, who led the Lakers with 22 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, added: "Just want him to be healthy and get back to full strength. All I care is about his health.

"It's definitely deflating anytime you lose a big player – a big guy on your team.

"We have a lot of things that's built in around AD and a lot of other players. When he goes down, you have to switch up. That hurt us."

LeBron James showed in the Los Angeles Lakers' latest overtime win against the Oklahoma City Thunder why he is likely to win this season's MVP award, according to head coach Frank Vogel.

The Lakers claimed a second straight overtime victory against the Thunder on Wednesday, having needed two additional five-minute periods to get past the Detroit Pistons on Saturday.

It was the first time in franchise history the Lakers won three straight overtime games, with the last NBA team to achieve the feat being the Minnesota Timberwolves in January 2007.

James played at least 40 minutes in all three – he last played that much in three successive games in January 2017 – and became the first player aged 35 or older in NBA history to do that in a trio of consecutive overtime triumphs.

Despite his increased time on the floor, the four-time MVP showed no noticeable dip in production. In a total of 130 minutes across the three wins he had 86 points, 30 assists, 25 rebounds and eight steals. The last NBA player to reach those numbers over a three-win span in the regular season was Michael Jordan in January 1989.

The Lakers were without Anthony Davis for a second straight game and Vogel felt the leadership LeBron displayed offensively and defensively was evidence of why he is a frontrunner for the MVP award.

Asked if he was concerned by the minutes James had racked up, Vogel replied: "Of course, there's always concern but his body's been feeling good.

"These aren't scripted plans to go to overtime each night and get him up to 40 minutes, but he's gonna be there in those situations to win the game.

"We'll continue evaluating how he's feeling, his workload on a day-by-day basis and make decisions on a game-by-game basis.

"He made several defensive plays to be honest with you, he's really leading the charge taking a matchup of [Al] Horford on certain situations. That's what Bron does. Bron does it on both sides of the ball.

"That's why he's probably going to be this year's MVP; carrying the load offensively and quarterbacking the number one defense in the league and taking these tough assignments and making the plays down the stretch, so he's played terrific."

Vogel joked that James was getting rest after the game by being excused from media duty.

He added: "These are the toughest games to play, when you have a sub-.500 team that comes in with guys out. Everybody on their team is getting an opportunity. You've got an opportunity to be the go-to guy. We've seen that with a few different games.

"We've certainly got to be better, we're not making things easy on ourselves but at the end of the day we're doing enough to grind things out in the second half and do what we need to do to get that W. Happy to get three wins but certainly got to be better.

"We're not worried about being tired. We're a no excuse team."

Kyle Kuzma praised James mentality after he contributed 25 points, seven assists, six rebounds and two steals in the 114-113 success over the Thunder.

"You've heard it from him: being tired is just in your head," said Kuzma, who contributed 15 points and nine rebounds.

"If you put your mind to it, you don't really see yourself getting too tired and that's always been his mindset through his unbelievable career. That dude's a beast. If he says he's not tired, doesn't get tired, [then] he doesn't get tired."

LeBron James was inspired by Tom Brady's latest Super Bowl achievement, but the Los Angeles Lakers star has no timetable regarding how much longer he plans to play in the NBA.

At the age of 43, Brady – considered by many as the greatest of all time – won a seventh ring after leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to Super Bowl LV glory against the Kansas City Chiefs.

It means the superstar quarterback now has more rings than any NFL franchise and was particularly impressive given it was his first season with Tampa after a golden era playing for the New England Patriots.

James himself continues to dominate in the twilight years of his NBA career, and recorded a sublime triple-double of 28 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists as the Lakers earned a 119-112 overtime win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday.

Asked about Brady and his own career, James replied: "I mean he's one of the GOATs. 

"I've been watching him my whole life, or it seems like my whole life. I've been watching him 20 years now or however long he's been in the NFL. 

"I watched him when he was in Michigan, watched him quite a while now, just to see him go out and see the things he's done in his career, for him to win another one in the fashion that he won it was pretty cool. 

"It was very inspiring for a guy like myself. But it's two different sports, two different positions. I don't know how long I'll play the game, how much more I'll be able to give to the game. 

"But the way I feel right now, we'll see what happens. I have no timetable on it. I don't have no year of 30-this or 40-that. The game will let me know, we'll figure it out then."

The Lakers' win over the Thunder came just two days after the double-overtime triumph over the Detroit Pistons, following which James joked "my heart's not sustainable for two overtimes".

"It needed overtime in order for us to win this game," James added. "We did enough things to close in regulation but they forced us to take another five minutes. 

"I'm good with one! I get home a little earlier, my heart don't feel as bad it did the other night."

LeBron James was the star of the show again as NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers outlasted the Oklahoma City Thunder 119-112 in overtime.

James posted a triple-double after just three quarters, eventually leading the streaking Lakers past the visiting Thunder in Los Angeles on Monday.

The Lakers superstar finished with 28 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists in the absence of team-mate Anthony Davis (Achilles).

Montrezl Harrell contributed 21 points off the bench as the Lakers won their fifth game in a row.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander forced overtime with free throws, but his double-double of 29 points and 10 assists was not enough for the Thunder – who were outscored 9-2 in OT.

Thunder team-mate Hamidou Diallo also recorded a double-double (20 points and 11 rebounds).

 

LaMelo dazzles

LaMelo Ball posted a game-high 24 points, 10 assists and a career-high seven three-pointers as the Charlotte Hornets topped the Houston Rockets 119-94. He joined Stephen Curry (2010) and Jason Kidd (1995) as the only rookies with seven-plus threes and 10-plus assists in a game.

Draymond Green put on a show for the Golden State Warriors, who lost 105-100 to the San Antonio Spurs. He became the sixth player in franchise history to reach 3,000 career assists. Green also had his third double-double of the season (10 rebounds and 10 assists). Curry scored 32 points for the beaten Warriors.

The Milwaukee Bucks extended their winning streak to five games thanks to two-time reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton. Antetokounmpo put up 30 points, nine rebounds and three blocks, while Middleton dropped 29 points, a career-high 12 assists and eight rebounds. The Bucks were 125-112 winners over the Denver Nuggets, who were led by Nikola Jokic's 35 points and 12 rebounds.

Fred VanVleet and Pascal Siakam each scored 32 points as the Toronto Raptors rallied past the Memphis Grizzlies 128-113. Norman Powell contributed 29 points for the Raptors, while Jonas Valanciunas' double-double of 27 points and a season-high 20 rebounds were not enough for the Grizzlies.

A season-high 36 points from Devin Booker fuelled the Phoenix Suns' 119-113 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers, while the NBA's leading scorer Bradley Beal finished with 35 points to lead the Washington Wizards to a 105-101 win against the Chicago Bulls.

 

Murray struggles in Denver

While Jokic starred, Nuggets team-mate Jamal Murray was inefficient in a loss to the Bucks. In 37 minutes, he was just four-of-17 shooting from the field, while he only made one of seven three-pointers for 11 points.

P.J. Tucker was scoreless for the Rockets after going 0-of-three from the field in 23 minutes.

 

Harrell says no!

With the Lakers looking to close out another win, Harrell produced an emphatic block to deny the Thunder late in OT.

Monday's results

Charlotte Hornets 119-94 Houston Rockets
Washington Wizards 105-101 Chicago Bulls
Toronto Raptors 128-113 Memphis Grizzlies
Dallas Mavericks 127-122 Minnesota Timberwolves
San Antonio Spurs 105-100 Golden State Warriors
Phoenix Suns 119-113 Cleveland Cavaliers
Milwaukee Bucks 125-112 Denver Nuggets
Los Angeles Lakers 119-112 Oklahoma City Thunder (OT)

 

76ers at Kings

The Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia 76ers (17-7) travel to the Sacramento Kings (12-11) on Tuesday. The Kings have won four straight games.

Steve Kerr feels Stephen Curry is playing the best basketball of his career after his impressive 57-point outing in the Golden State Warriors' defeat to the Dallas Mavericks.

Curry joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only Warriors players to post multiple 55-point games in a campaign with a season-high 11 three-pointers in Saturday's thrilling clash.

It was not enough for the Warriors as Luka Doncic tied his career high of 42 points to inspire his side to a 134-132 victory, snapping a six-game home losing streak.

However, Kerr was blown away by Curry's shot-making ability, with the two-time MVP's 57 points - the second-best total of his career - coming on 19-of-31 shooting from the field.

"He's never played better," Kerr said. "We're talking about a two-time MVP, three-time champion. I've never seen him like this. He just looks so strong to me. 

"He's obviously always been an incredible shooter, but he looks stronger to me just getting by people, fending them off on drives to the rim, finish, and of course the shot-making. 

"It's almost unfathomable what he's doing out there."

Doncic, who is yet to outscore Curry in a head-to-head contest, was also amazed by the Warriors superstar's performance at the American Airlines Center.

"Every time he shot the ball, I thought it was going in," Doncic told ESPN. "It was something unbelievable. He's an amazing player. 

"He changed the game and it's always fun to play against him, and today we got a win, but it's always fun to play against him."

Elsewhere in Saturday's NBA action, champions Los Angeles Lakers beat the Detroit Pistons 135-129 in double overtime.

LeBron James had 33 points, eight of those points coming in the second overtime as the Lakers survived a scare against a Pistons side with just five wins all term.

James, who also had 11 assists to make it 10 double-doubles for the season, joked he is getting too old to be taken the distance.

"I was just ready to go," he said. "I'm 36 years old... my heart is not sustainable for two overtimes at this point in my career! 

"I've got a bottle of wine at home ready to be opened, and I delayed it for two overtime periods."

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James branded the decision to hold an NBA All-Star game this season as "pretty much a slap in the face".

The league and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) have agreed to stage the event in Atlanta on March 7, according to The Athletic.

The traditional February exhibition, initially set to be held in Indianapolis, was cancelled before the season started due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

James had expected the game not to go ahead and was anticipating a much-needed break after the Lakers go to the Sacramento Kings on March 4.

Speaking after leading the Lakers to a 114-93 win over the Denver Nuggets on Thursday, James proclaimed he has "Zero energy and zero excitement about an All-Star game this year", adding: "I don't even know why we're having an All-Star game."

He said: "A short offseason for myself and my team-mates, and coming into the season, we were told we wouldn't have an All-Star game so we get a nice little break, five days from the fifth to the 10th, an opportunity for me to kind of recalibrate for the second half of the season.

"Then they throw an All-Star game on us like this. It's pretty much a slap in the face. We're still dealing with a pandemic, with everything that's been going on, and we're going to bring the whole league into one city that's open.

"You guys can see I'm not very happy about it but it's out of my hands. I'll be there physically [if I'm selected], but not mentally."

James was speaking after posting a second triple-double of the season  – 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists – against the Nuggets as the Lakers moved to 17-6.

The 36-year-old is enjoying a 23-game streak of recording at least 15 points, five rebounds and five assists to start the season. It is the longest such run in NBA history, surpassing his own record of 22 set back in 2011-12.

James scored the 12,682nd field goal of his storied career, overtaking the great Wilt Chamberlain for the third-most in NBA history, with only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (15,837) and Karl Malone (13,528) now above him.

"The association with a legend like Wilt Chamberlain, that does something for me," James said. "I'm someone who grew up reading about the game, studying the game. Wilt obviously was a big staple of that. It's very humbling."

LeBron James inspired reigning NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers to a 114-93 win over the Denver Nuggets on Thursday.

James posted his second triple-double of the season – 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists – to guide the Lakers past the visiting Nuggets in Los Angeles.

With the 12,682nd bucket of his illustrious career, Lakers superstar James surpassed Wilt Chamberlain for the third-most field goals made in NBA history.

James' 23-game streak of recording 15-plus points, five-plus rebounds and five-plus assists to start the season is the longest run in NBA history, surpassing his own record of 22 in a row in 2011-12.

The Lakers recorded their third consecutive win after overturning a 12-point deficit against Western Conference rivals the Nuggets.

According to Stats Perform, it is the largest margin of victory in franchise history after trailing by double digits at half-time. The previous high was a 20-point win at the Phoenix Suns on Christmas Day in 1968.

 

Night to remember for Oubre

Kelly Oubre Jr. scored a career-high 40 points as the Golden State Warriors overpowered the Dallas Mavericks 147-116. Stephen Curry had 28 points for the Warriors in Dallas.

Joel Embiid hurt his knee but had a game-high 37 points in the Philadelphia 76ers' shock 121-105 loss at home to the Portland Trail Blazers, who were without stars Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.

 

Scoreless Rondo

Rajon Rondo did not score a point in the Atlanta Hawks' 112-91 defeat to the Utah Jazz. Rondo was 0 of seven from the field, while he missed all three of his attempts from beyond the arc in 28 minutes.

Embiid did not have much support in Philadelphia as the 76ers struggled without Ben Simmons. Tobias Harris finished with 12 points on just five-of-14 shooting from the field. The All-Star hopeful missed both of his three-point efforts.

The Houston Rockets beat the Memphis Grizzlies 115-103, however P.J. Tucker was one-of-eight from the field, and one-of-seven from three-point range for three points in 34 minutes.

 

The LeBron show

James was at his brilliant best against the Nuggets, showcasing his elite shooting and passing skills.

 

Thursday's results

Utah Jazz 112-91 Atlanta Hawks
Golden State Warriors 147-116 Dallas Mavericks
Portland Trail Blazers 121-105 Philadelphia 76ers
Houston Rockets 115-103 Memphis Grizzlies
Los Angeles Lakers 114-93 Denver Nuggets

 

Raptors at Nets

The star-studded Brooklyn Nets (14-9) will host the Toronto Raptors (9-12) on Friday. The Los Angeles Clippers (17-6) and Milwaukee Bucks (13-8) will also be in action.

The first fan returns of the NBA’s All-Star voting for 2021 were revealed on Thursday, and the Brooklyn Nets’ Kevin Durant and the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James lead their respective conferences. 

Durant leads all vote getters with 2,302,705 votes, while James has garnered 2,288,676. 

Among guards, the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry leads the Western Conference with 2,113,178 votes, while 1,273,817 fans have selected the Washington Wizards’ Bradley Beal in the East. 

The Nets’ Kyrie Irving is second among East guards in voting, while the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid are second and third among East frontcourt players. 

In the West, the Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic and the Los Angeles Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard are second and third in voting behind James among frontcourt players, while the Dallas Mavericks’ Luka Doncic is second among guards. 

The starting five for the All-Star teams will be made up of two guards and three frontcourt players. 

Fan voting makes up 50 per cent of the formula that determines the All-Star starters, with 25 per cent coming from a media panel and 25 per cent based on votes from players. 

In addition to the starting five, the All-Star team reserves will consist of a pair of backcourt players, three frontcourt players plus two additional wild cards. 

Voting runs through February 16, and the starters will be announced two days later. The reserves, who are selected by the league’s head coaches, are revealed on February 23. 

It’s still uncertain at this point if there will be an All-Star Game or if the voting is merely a way to recognise those individuals playing at an All-Star level.

Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid believes Patrick Mahomes can be as influential as LeBron James and impact the world.

Los Angeles Lakers star James has helped lead the fight for racial equality and social justice.

Reid believes Mahomes, who is preparing for the Chiefs' Super Bowl LV clash against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, can be as influential as the four-time NBA champion and four-time MVP.

"Yeah, absolutely. I think he's got a way about him where he understands people and they are interested in things he has to say, or back, and believe in," he told a news conference on Tuesday.

"So, I think that presents yourself with a good combination to whatever platform that you want to support or take, that you have that ability."

Mahomes, 25, has already won a Super Bowl to go with a Super Bowl MVP and NFL MVP honours.

The quarterback said James was one of the athletes he had modelled himself on.

"There's a lot of great athletes that are doing things the right way. LeBron is one of them. He's someone that I can talk to and get advice from but there's others too," Mahomes said.

"There's a ton of people that are using their voice to make a difference in this world.

"I try and take from them and kind of use my own voice in my own way to make an impact in my community."

LeBron James is delighted to see fans back in the building despite getting into an altercation with spectators sitting courtside during the Los Angeles Lakers' road win at the Atlanta Hawks.

ESPN reported four people were ejected by the Hawks following the incident late in the fourth quarter of the Lakers' 107-99 victory at State Farm Arena.

A woman later posted on social media claiming she got involved after her husband and James exchanged words. Cameras showed a woman involved in the argument with her mask pulled below her chin, something not allowed with rules in place amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Referees halted the game and security personnel were called over, but James looked to cool the incident when talking after the contest, which was attended by 1,341 fans.

"At the end of the day, I'm happy fans are back in the building," said James.

"I miss that interaction. I need that interaction, we as players need that interaction. I don't feel like it was warranted to be kicked out."

James, who had 21 points, nine assists and seven rebounds, suggested alcohol may have been an influence in the incident.

He added: "They might have had a couple drinks, maybe and they could have probably kept it going during the game, and the game wouldn't have been about the game no more, so I think the referees did what they had to do.

"I love our fans. Laker Nation and everybody else that's against Laker Nation. It just feels better.

"Fans in the stands is just, it's just better. It's better for everybody. Especially on the last game of a 14-day road trip."

Lakers head coach Frank Vogel suggested the incident perhaps exposed a problem with having fans in attendance, especially when the woman lowered her mask.

"It certainly exposed something with regard to having fans in the pandemic," Vogel said.

"You obviously can't have fans taking their masks down and shouting at our players with the virus out there during these times."

Anthony Davis concurred but like James is happy to see fans back.

"With COVID going on, we obviously can't have that [masks being pulled down]. We want to make sure we all can be safe," Davis said.

"We love having fans at the game. Whether we're home or away, it just brings back the game that we love, that joy from the fans and the support.

"Whether it's 500 people or 1,000, 1,500, whatever it is, it's always enjoyable to play in front of a crowd."

Los Angeles Lakers pair LeBron James and Anthony Davis are questionable for Monday's clash with the Atlanta Hawks.

James is listed with a left ankle sprain, while team-mate Davis has a right quadriceps contusion, according to the NBA champions.

Lakers superstar James posted 21 points in Saturday's 96-95 win over the Boston Celtics as Davis led the way with a 27-point, 14-rebound double-double.

James has been averaging 25.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game for the Lakers.

Davis, meanwhile, is averaging 22.2 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists.

The Lakers (15-6) sit third in the Western Conference, behind city rivals the Los Angeles Clippers (16-5) and Utah Jazz (15-5).

LeBron James compared his achievements with the Los Angeles Lakers to Tom Brady's early success at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the legendary quarterback prepares for his latest Super Bowl appearance.

James, a four-time champion and four-time MVP in the NBA, led the Lakers to the title last year in just his second season in LA.

Meanwhile, Brady is in his first year in Tampa Bay, having ended a glittering career with the New England Patriots, and has taken the Bucs to next week's big game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

James turned 36 last month but is still averaging an impressive 25.2 points per game in 2020-21, a mark he has not dipped below since his rookie season in 2003-04.

Meanwhile, Brady – a three-time NFL MVP chasing a seventh championship – is now 43 yet ended the regular season with 40 touchdowns, the second best return of his career, and a passer rating of 102.2.

Neither man shows signs of slowing and James was asked on Saturday what he made of the continued excellence of a fellow sporting great.

"It doesn't do anything for me as far as what I do in my profession, but it does let me know – lets both of us know – that we can still play this game at a high level," James said after the Lakers' 96-95 win at the Boston Celtics.

"No matter how many miles, how many games, no matter how many dollars, no matter the statistics – in our respective professions, at our age, we can still dominate our sport.

"Also we can bring together groups that we may have not been around for long periods of time.

"It's our professionalism, how we attack the sport, how we attack every single day of being a professional, wanting to win every single day – in practice, on the film, in games, and so on and so on.

"We gravitate towards people and people gravitate towards us because we have one common goal and that's to win and to win at the highest level."

James had 21 points, seven rebounds and seven assists against the Celtics, ending the Lakers' first two-game losing streak of the season with his 854th career win – outright eighth on the all-time list.

"We didn't want to lose one and we lost two in a row, Philly and Detroit," he said, with the Lakers at Atlanta next in the final game of a seven-game road trip.

"We understood we were coming into a hostile environment and we know how good this team is.

"We'd have to play good basketball in order to win and we were able to win one possession more than they did."

Those fine margins came as Kemba Walker missed a game-winning chance for the Celtics in the final seconds, capping a dismal night on which he shot 1-of-12 from the field and 0-of-5 from three.

Walker scored only four points in just over 28 minutes; it was the seventh time in his career he had scored no more than four points in at least 28 minutes in the regular season.

"I thought I had a good look [on the final shot] but I struggled all game shooting the basketball," Walker said.

He added: "It's more mental, I think. I'm trying my hardest not to get frustrated but I thought tonight I got frustrated at myself and it put me in a bad place.

"I'm not the type of player to get frustrated – I'm always smiling and I wasn't that tonight. I got into my own head and, mentally, I hurt myself.

"I can't do that to this team. These guys look to me, especially when things are going tough. I can't put my head down and not mentally be engaged in the game like I was tonight."

The Los Angeles Lakers will aim to rebound from back-to-back defeats when they face the Boston Celtics in the latest chapter of a storied NBA rivalry.  

A narrow 107-106 defeat to the Philadelphia 76ers was followed by a surprise 107-92 setback against the Detroit Pistons on Thursday, so the Lakers – who lost consecutive games for the first time this season – will need to improve to walk away from TD Garden with a W in the sixth of seven straight road games.  

No teams have faced off in the Finals more than the 12 contested by the Lakers and the Celtics, who are tied for the most NBA championships of all time with 17 apiece.  

The Celtics are now 10-7 in a season that has been affected by COVID-19 issues after going down 110-106 to the San Antonio Spurs in their previous outing.

KEY PERFORMERS

Jaylen Brown

Much of the scoring burden for the Celtics this season is landing on Brown, whose 27.1 points per game ranks him inside the top 10 in the league.  

That average bumps up to 29.7 for games played at the Garden this season and he will certainly aim to make the most of home-court advantage against LeBron James and a star-studded Lakers cast.  

No one on the Celtics roster has a better three-point percentage (44.1) than Brown, plus you can add in averages of 5.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists during an impressive campaign so far for the 24-year-old.

LeBron James

Most players by the age of 36 are thinking about winding down in the twilight of their careers, yet James has proven throughout his distinguished playing days he is no ordinary individual. 

He leads the Lakers for both points (25.5) and assists (7.5), while he is shooting at 41.7 per cent from beyond the arc – well above his career average of 34.6 per cent. 

With Anthony Davis potentially missing again due to a right quad injury, the Lakers will need their talisman firing on all cylinders.

KEY BATTLE: CAN TATUM GO TOE-TO-TOE WITH LEBRON?

The last time these teams went head-to-head was back in February 2020, the Lakers coming out narrow 114-112 victors on that occasion. 

Following the game, James took to Instagram to give a huge endorsement to Jayson Tatum, writing: "That boi to the left of me is an ABSOLUTE PROBLEM!! Keep going #YoungKing." 

Tatum had put up 41 points, five rebounds, two assists and two blocks in a mammoth outing, though James' enduring quality was on display with a brilliant fadeaway in the closing minutes putting the Lakers into a lead they would not relinquish (James had 29 points, nine assists and eight rebounds). 

An offensive foul on what would have been a match-winning three from Tatum ended a fierce battle and the prospect of these two going head-to-head again is an exciting one.

HEAD TO HEAD

A rivalry that dates all the way back to 1948, the Celtics lead the regular season head-to-head between these heavyweights by 161-131. 

When you throw in playoff clashes, the Celtics lead the way at 204-162, while they also edge the past 10 encounters between the teams at 6-4. 

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.