"There's no words" for LeBron James' brilliance after his 56-point haul in the Los Angeles Lakers' 124-116 win over the Golden State Warriors, according to head coach Frank Vogel.

James almost single-handedly hauled the Lakers over the line, rallying from a half-time deficit with a 35-22 fourth quarter to end their four-game losing run.

The four-time NBA MVP's 56 points was his most as a Laker and tied for the third most in a single game in his storied 19-year career.

James labelled it a "desperation" win after the game, shooting 19-of-31 from the field along with six-of-11 from beyond the arc, with 10 rebounds and three assists.

“There’s no words for it," Vogel told reporters after the game. "An incredible performance by the best to ever do it in my opinion."

James' 56-point haul meant he became the fourth player aged 37 or older to score 50 or more points in a single game, alongside Michael Jordan (2001), Kobe Bryant (2016) and Jamal Crawford (2019).

"It's just remarkable, his will," Vogel added. "What he's done to transition his game to this stage of his career, in terms of his shooting, it's an example to every player to put the work into his craft.

"it's just remarkable to be doing it at this stage in his career."

Warriors head coach Steve Kerr added: “He was brilliant tonight. LeBron was amazing."

The win improves the Lakers' record to 28-35, sitting ninth in the Western Conference ahead of the final stretch of games before the playoffs.

"It feels like earlier in the season when we first lost Anthony [Davis], we lost five in a row, we were in an adjustment phase and trying to figure it out," Vogel said. "Hopefully this is the win that changes that momentum."

LeBron James is adamant the Los Angeles Lakers are still capable of ending their season on a high, despite falling to a sixth defeat in seven games on Tuesday.

The Lakers lost 109-104 to the Dallas Mavericks at Crypto.com Arena to slide to a season-worst seven games below .500, leaving them ninth in the Western Conference.

James led the scoring with 26 points, one more than Mavs star Luka Doncic, but it was not enough for the 27-34 hosts as their poor run continued.

But despite the Lakers' ongoing struggles, James is not ready to write off the remainder of the 2021-22 campaign with 21 games of the regular season still to go.

"We still have games to play," he told reporters. "Until you stomp me out, cut my head off, bury me 12 feet under, then I got a chance. So that's my confidence.

"Obviously, at the end of the day, we got to come in here and win ball games and we got to play better but as long as we've got more games to play, we should have a chance.

"I feel like poop right now. But tomorrow is a new day and I'm going to be prepared and ready for the Clippers on Thursday. That's just my mindset. That's just who I am."

James has missed 17 games this season through injury, but the 37-year-old shot down suggestions he will use the final stages of this season as an opportunity to rest up.

"The only way it'll be back to full strength is with rest," he said. "But I don't have the luxury of having rest. It can wait until the off-season."

 

The Lakers made up a 21-point deficit to lead 100-94 with seven minutes to play, but 11 consecutive points ensured the Mavericks claimed an eighth win in 10 outings.

Luka Doncic stepped up by scoring seven of his 25 points in the final quarter and is now averaging 27.5 per game for the season – a tally bettered by only six others.

"We stayed together and just executed the game plan, played the game," Doncic said. "My mentality is to close the game with the best shot possible."

Los Angeles managed only four points in the final seven-plus minutes and head coach Frank Vogel accepted there is a lot to improve on.

"Our guys really competed," he said. "Our helpers really competed, but he had that stretch in crunch time where he scored a few buckets in a row. 

"It wasn't good enough. It hurts. All these guys are hurting in there. We're putting in the work."

LeBron James conceded this season is "definitely different" after the Los Angeles Lakers slumped to another defeat on Sunday.

The Lakers were humiliated 123-95 by the New Orleans Pelicans at home, giving up 23 turnovers for the game, which was the team's most this season.

James and Russell Westbrook combined for 14 turnovers, which was their worst return as team-mates.

The only positive was James scored 32 points, marking his 500th career game with 30 points or more.

But that was not enough to prevent a fifth defeat in six matches for the Lakers, with James recognising the need for a win to provide the catalyst for a turnaround.

"It all starts with a win. You learn from that win, the things you did well and what you didn't do well," he said.

"It always starts with that and how you can implement it into a game and a game situation.

"Obviously the last two losses have been... the Clippers game was right there [to win] and obviously we couldn't finish the game.

"And tonight against the Pelicans, who have been playing some good ball of late... this season is definitely different."

Next up for the 27-33 Lakers is a showdown with the Dallas Mavericks, who came from behind to stun the Golden State Warriors on Monday.

 

 

 

James Harden recorded his first triple-double for the Philadelphia 76ers who flexed their muscle with a dominant 125-109 win over the New York Knicks on Sunday.

Harden had 29 points, 10 rebounds and 16 assists, while Joel Embiid top scored with 37 points along with nine rebounds and four blocks.

Embiid made a season-high 23 free-throws, heading to the line 27 times across the game as the 76ers relentlessly attacked the rim.

The 76ers made 39 free-throws for the game, which was the most of any team this season.

Philadelphia had contributions from beyond their star pair, though, with Tyrese Maxey scoring 21 points with seven rebounds

 

Doncic leads Mavs comeback win

Luka Doncic helped the Dallas Mavericks overcome a 21-point third-quarter deficit to win 107-101 over the Golden State Warriors. The Slovenian had 34 points and 11 rebounds for the Mavs, while Stephen Curry finished with 27 points and 10 assists.

The Utah Jazz claimed their eighth win from their past nine games and condemned the Chris Paul-less Phoenix Suns to their second straight defeat in a 118-114 defeat, with Rudy Gobert scoring 16 points with 14 rebounds.

Kelly Olynyk scored a match-winning buzzer beater in overtime as the Detroit Pistons beat the Charlotte Hornets 127-126, while the in-form Boston Celtics were shocked 128-107 by the Indiana Pacers.

 

Lakers demolished on home court

The Los Angeles Lakers were humiliated 123-95 by the New Orleans Pelicans at home, giving up 23 turnovers for the game, which was the team's most this season. LeBron James and Russell Westbrook combined for 14 turnovers which was their worst return as teammates. The only positive was James scored 32 points, marking his 500th career game with 30 points or more.

LeBron James has quashed suggestions he is set to leave the Los Angeles Lakers, while repeating that he hopes to continue his career long enough to eventually play alongside his son.

The 37-year-old, one of the NBA's most successful superstars of the twenty-first century, joined the Lakers in 2018, leading them to a 2020 championship - the fourth of his prolific career.

Yet, following comments around the league's All-Star game over wanting to play alongside his son Bronny, speculation had run rife that James could leave the Lakers to finish his career with another franchise.

Speaking after the 105-102 defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday though, James sought to shut down discussion, saying he is committed to the franchise through the end of his contract and beyond.

"This is a franchise I see myself being with. I'm here. I'm here," he said. "I see myself being with the purple and gold as long as I can play."

James' current deal has one more season to run, though he is eligible to pen a two-year extension later this year, while high schooler Bronny would not be available to be drafted until the 2024-25 campaign.

"I also have a goal that, if it's possible - I don't even know if it's possible - that if I can play with my son, I would love to do that," James added.

"Is that, like, something that any man shouldn't want that in life? That's like the coolest thing that could possibly happen. That doesn't mean I don't want to be with this franchise."

James - who top scored with 21 points in the loss to the Clippers, as well as managing 11 rebounds - also admitted he remains frustrated by the lack of game time he has shared with Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook this season, with the trio often split by injury.

"I do wish that we were just playing better basketball and between me, AD and Russ on the floor at the same time," James said. "That's the biggest disappointment so far, that us three, because we all wanted to see this work. We just haven't been on the floor."

The Cleveland Cavaliers have promoted Mike Gansey to the role of general manager, with the 39-year-old stepping up from his previous role as assistant.

The change comes after previous GM Koby Altman was elevated to the president of basketball operations last month, allowing Gansey, who has occupied a number of roles at the organisation since 2011, to make the step up.

The Cavaliers have emerged as a surprise contender in the NBA's Eastern Conference this season, emerging from the All-Star break fourth in the East with a 35-23 record, just 2.5 games back of joint-leaders Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls.

Gansey has had a key role in the team's improvement, weighing in on the draft picks of Darius Garland and Evan Mobley and the trades for Jarrett Allen and Caris LeVert.

In a statement announcing the move, Altman praised Gansey's previous work in Cleveland and looked forward to the pair continuing their front office partnership. 

"Mike has been an incredible resource to me and this organisation, and his work behind the scenes gives me great confidence that he is ready to take on more of a leadership role," he said. 

"His community roots provides a unique perspective when evaluating players and the type of commitment needed to make a positive impact in Cleveland.

"I could not think of a better person to work alongside as we continue building this team toward sustainable success."

Despite suffering back-to-back defeats to the Atlanta Hawks and the Philadelphia 76ers, the Cavaliers remain in contention for their first playoff appearance since LeBron James' 2018 departure.

Recent speculation has focused on whether the four-time NBA MVP could return to the organisation after enjoying another fine individual season in a struggling Los Angeles Lakers team.

Steph Curry said he was "humbled" to honour the late, great Kobe Bryant by setting new ground in Sunday's NBA All-Star game.

The Golden State Warriors superstar nailed 16 three-pointers as Team LeBron defeated Team Durant 163-160 – a new benchmark for the annual exhibition contest.

Curry broke barriers in other areas too. Regarded as one of the greatest shooters of all time, Curry set records for threes made in a quarter (six) and half (eight), while overtaking James Harden for total threes made (39) in the midseason contest.

The guard was a natural choice for MVP. His six threes record came in the second quarter but it was in the third where he had the Cleveland crowd rocking, as Curry nailed five from downtown in the space of 128 seconds.

The Ohio-born Curry's performance also proved hugely beneficial for charity. He had vowed to donate $1,000 for every point he scored, $3,000 for every three he made, and $10,000 if he won All-Star MVP recognition to the Cleveland Metro School District.

The 2022 MVP award was named in tribute to Los Angeles Lakers great Bryant, who tragically lost his life in a helicopter crash in January 2020. 

"This trophy has a very special meaning, honouring Kobe and Gigi, everybody that was lost two years ago," said Curry, who finished with a game-high 50 points, after his sensational homecoming performance. 

"I'm very humbled, very blessed and I really appreciate it."

Home favourite James, who is now 5-0 as a captain in the All-Star game, fittingly hit the game-winning shot after receiving a rousing reception from the fans in attendance.

But James paid tribute to Curry, a man who was for so long his rival while representing the Cleveland Cavaliers in their battles with the Warriors for the NBA title.

"Steph, I mean, come on, man. This guy is from a different planet," James said. 

"He literally has an automatic sniper connected to his arm and, when he lets it go, not only himself but everybody on the floor, in the stands, on TV, on their phones, whatever you're watching on, you think it's going in every time. 

"And nine times out of 10, sometimes 10 times out of 10, it does go in. So, to be out there and watch that kid from Akron as well shoot the ball the way he shot it, it was unbelievable. It was pretty cool."

Ohio-born four-time NBA MVP LeBron James is not ruling out a potential return to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The 37-year-old is nearing the end of his decorated career but is enjoying an excellent season on an individual level for the Los Angeles Lakers, averaging 29.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.5 assists.

However, the Lakers do not appear to be a title threat this season, sitting below .500 with a 27-31 record and ninth spot in the Western Conference.

The Lakers also were inactive on the NBA Trade Deadline leading to some reports suggesting James was unhappy, before Anthony Davis went down with a new foot injury leaving them short-handed ahead of a crucial stretch after the All-Star break.

James, who led the Lakers to the 2020 NBA title, is in the first year of a two-year $85 million contract and will not be a free agent until the 2023-24 season.

"The door's not closed on that," James told The Athletic on Saturday when asked about potentially returning to the Cavs.

"I'm not saying I'm coming back and playing, I don't know. I don't know what my future holds. I don't even know when I'm free."

James, who played for the Cavs from 2003 to 2010, was more forthright when discussing playing alongside his son Bronny, who is eligible to be drafted in 2024 when LeBron will be 39.

"My last year will be played with my son," James said. "Wherever Bronny is at, that's where I'll be.

"I would do whatever it takes to play with my son for one year. It's not about the money at that point."

James, who is in Cleveland for Sunday's All-Star Game, has the third-best average for scoring per game this season, while he has scored a personal-best 25 points or more in 23 successive games, yet the Lakers are struggling to make the playoffs.

"That's part of the motivation at this point," he said. "I know it's been a hell-storm of a season for us so far but if I can get our group in the [postseason] games, all we can ask for is a chance."

LeBron James says it was "sickening" to see Anthony Davis suffer an ankle injury during the Los Angeles Lakers' win over the Utah Jazz but hopes his team-mate can make a swift return.

Davis reportedly faces two weeks on the sidelines after sustaining a suspected sprained ankle in the Lakers' 106-101 victory on Wednesday.

The forward left the Crypto.com Arena on crutches and will undergo an MRI scan on Thursday heading into the All-Star break.

James, who scored a team-high 33 points, said: "Obviously it's sickening to see AD go down in that fashion

"I hope he's fine. Obviously, I mean, I know he's not great, but obviously his health is most important for him individually, for our ballclub.

"I've seen [injuries] too many times, obviously. So I just wish him the best."

 

Davis had 17 points on 7-for-9 shooting before his participation was cut short.

In the absence of Davis, who had only recently returned after missing 17 games with a sprained knee, the Lakers stepped up to snap a three-game losing run.

They trailed by 12 points midway through the fourth quarter, but went on a 19-4 run with James inspiring the comeback.

The Lakers superstar scored 15 points in the final quarter and has now scored 25 points or more in a career-best 23 straight games.

Frank Vogel's side are now 27-31 for the season but are still down in ninth in the Western Conference, while the 36-22 Jazz are in fourth after suffering a first loss in seven outings.

The Los Angeles Lakers are awaiting news on the injury sustained by Anthony Davis in Wednesday's 106-101 victory over the Utah Jazz.

Davis had 17 points on 7-for-9 shooting when being forced to exit the game after turning his ankle and clutching his right leg in pain.

The 28-year-old was helped to the locker room by his team-mates and initial X-rays revealed no fracture, but he will be re-evaluated after the All-Star break.

In the absence of Davis, who had only recently returned after missing 17 games with a sprained knee, the Lakers stepped up to snap a three-game losing run.

Frank Vogel's side trailed the Jazz by 12 points midway through the fourth quarter, but they went on a 19-4 run – LeBron James scoring the last 10 of those points – to hit back.

James finished with a team-high 33 points, 15 of those coming in the final quarter, meaning he has now scored 25 points or more in a career-best 23 straight games.

The Lakers are now 27-31 for the season but are still down in ninth in the Western Conference, while the 36-22 Jazz are in fourth after suffering a first loss in seven outings.

 


Knicks blow 28-point lead against Nets

Rookie Cam Thomas impressed in the absence of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to help the Brooklyn Nets match their biggest comeback in franchise history.

The Nets trailed the New York Knicks by 28 points before going on to win 111-106, with 16 of Thomas' 21 points arriving in the fourth quarter, including a 3-pointer to clinch the win with 7.7 seconds to go.

Julius Randle had seemingly put the Knicks in control with 31 points and 10 rebounds, but they were unable to hold on and suffered a third successive loss to stumble to 25-34 for the season.


DeRozan eclipses Chamberlain's streak

DeMar DeRozan scored 38 points in the Chicago Bulls' 125-118 victory over the Sacramento Kings to create some NBA history.

The five-time NBA All-Star became the first player to score 35 or more points and shoot 50 per cent or better in seven straight games, usurping Wilt Chamberlain's previous record of six.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, the Golden State Warriors lost 117-116 to the Denver Nuggets through Monte Morris' 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded.

Nikola Jokic had 35 points and 17 rebounds for the Nuggets, who have now won three in a row and five of their last six.

The NBA-leading Phoenix Suns beat the Houston Rockets 124-121 for a seventh successive win thanks to 24 points for Devin Booker and 23 for Deandre Ayton.

LeBron James surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA's all-time leading points scorer in combined regular season and play-off history in the Los Angeles' Lakers loss to the Golden State Warriors.

The four-time NBA MVP led the scoring for the Lakers in Saturday's 117-115 defeat at Chase Center with 26 points, while also adding 15 rebounds and eight assists in another impressive display.

In doing so, James extended his streak of 25 points or more to 22 games and took his career points tally to 44,157, overtaking former Milwaukee Bucks and Lakers great Abdul-Jabbar's previous high of 44,149.

However, the achievement was bittersweet for the 37-year-old as it came in a narrow defeat for his side, with Klay Thompson grabbing the headlines thanks to his season-high 33 points.

"It's hard for me to speak on it now because I hate doing anything when it comes in a loss," James said. "And we had an opportunity to win a big game tonight."

 

Reflecting more widely on his career to date, James added: "I've been appreciative of the opportunity to play this game at the highest level. 

"I love the game of basketball. I love being a part of the NBA and being able to inspire so many different sets of generations. I guess, it's a pretty big deal.

"In all my career, any time I've been linked with some of the greats, I've always just been in awe."

James still has work to do if he is to finish his career as the highest-scoring player in the regular season, as he trails Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) and Karl Malone (36,928) with 36,526 points.

He has won four NBA Championships, four NBA MVP awards, four NBA Finals MVP awards and two Olympic gold medals with the United States in an illustrious career.

After hitting another milestone, Warriors pair Thompson and Steph Curry were among those to laud evergreen James.

"It's wild to think about how many games he's played, how long he's been doing it. The longevity of it all is legendary," Curry said. 

"To be in that position where you've played that many games, you've been in so many different play-off runs, won championships and done it year after year, there is no real end in sight. 

"That's a pretty special accomplishment. He's probably got his eyes set on the 'real' scoring title. It's crazy to think about."

Thompson added: "I don't know how much longer he has, maybe it's two years, maybe it's three. But NBA fans should appreciate it while they're watching such an amazing player."

James has a team-high 1,159 points this term for the Lakers, who are 26-31 following their loss to the Warriors, at an average of 29 per game across his 40 outings – only Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid (29.5) has averaged more.

Indeed, James' 29-point average is his best since 2009-10 when finishing with 29.7 through 76 games with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Philadelphia 76ers made a statement as Joel Embiid piled on a 40-point triple-double as they won 103-93 over the Cleveland Cavaliers without new acquisition James Harden on Saturday.

Embiid scored 40 points with 14 rebounds and 10 assists for the Sixers, who improve to 34-22. It was only Embiid's fourth career triple-double.

The Cameroonian center's points haul included a highlight-reel dunk, a one-handed throw-down over Jarrett Allen late in the first half.

Embiid also made four of five three-pointers, going at 50 per cent from the field, while he added three steals in an outstanding game as they wait on Harden to be cleared medically to debut.

 

Klay hits season-high

Klay Thompson scored a season-high 33 points, marking a major milestone in his recovery from long-term injury, as the Golden State Warriors won 117-115 over the Los Angeles Lakers. Thompson shot five-of-nine from beyond the arc, with Stephen Curry (24 points, five rebounds, eight assists) taking a backseat. LeBron James had 26 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists for the Lakers.

The Chicago Bulls, sitting second in the Eastern Conference, overcame a sluggish start as DeMar DeRozan scored 38 points with six rebounds and five assists, while Nikola Vucevic added 31 points and 15 rebounds in a 106-101 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Luka Doncic scored 45 points with 15 rebounds and eight rebounds in a losing cause as the Dallas Mavericks went down 99-97 to the Los Angeles Clippers, while the table-topping Phoenix Suns won their fourth straight with a 132-105 win over the Orlando Magic led by Devin Booker's 26 points and Chris Paul's 15 assists.

 

Nets slump to 11th straight loss

Kyrie Irving led a late Brooklyn Nets charge that fell short as they went down 115-111 to the Miami Heat. Irving scored 29 points, including 20 in the final quarter, with five rebounds and five assists as the Nets slumped to their 11th straight defeat. Bam Adebayo had 19 points and 14 rebounds for the Heat who have won five in a row.

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel insists there is alignment and good energy within his roster despite letting the trade deadline pass without making any moves.

The Lakers were one of the big players with player movement during the off-season but have struggled to 26-30 record this season.

Russell Westbrook's acquisition has not brought the hoped impact and he was linked with a trade but that did not materialise, nor any other potential moves.

The Lakers' inaction has reportedly led to some friction between vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka and star pair LeBron James and Anthony Davis but Vogel downplayed that, insisting there was good energy within the roster.

"I think there's just a natural reset energy to our group, knowing that the trade deadline has passed," Vogel told reporters.

"This is the group that we put together to start the year. This is a group we believe in."

Vogel had said "if there's a way to improve our team, we'll improve our team" ahead of Thursday's trade deadline, while he also acknowledged the team's energy "isn’t good right now" after Tuesday's 131-116 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks.

But the Lakers head coach was buoyed by Friday's practice and film session ahead of Saturday's game with the Golden State Warriors and a potential run down the stretch to push for the playoffs.

"I think with that deadline passing and having a refreshed mindset today, our group had really good energy about going out and trying to win a game [Saturday] and understanding and believing in what we can do this year," Vogel said.

LeBron James and Kevin Durant confirmed their 2022 All-Star teams in Thursday's draft, with James Harden picked last.

James was voted in by fans as the Western Conference's captain, while Durant was chosen out of the East.

The All-Star draft took place ahead of Thursday's slate of games and came at the end of a thrilling trade deadline day, in which Harden took centre-stage.

Harden has left the Brooklyn Nets to join up with the Philadelphia 76ers, who finally solved their Ben Simmons conundrum by sending him – as well as Seth Curry and Andre Drummond – the other way.

Interestingly, his former Nets team-mate Durant seemingly opted to pick anyone but Harden.

The 32-year-old ended up being given to James by default at the end when Durant chose Rudy Gobert as his final selection.

Despite being captain, Durant will not be taking part in the All-Star game later this month due to a lingering knee injury, meaning he was granted five picks to James' four in the first round of the draft.

James went first, though, and selected the Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo – in fact, the Los Angeles Lakers star's starting team will be almost identical to last year's, with DeMar DeRozan instead of Luka Doncic the only difference.

Team LeBron defeated Team Durant 170-150 in 2021 and James will be hoping for a similar outcome this time around.

NBA All-Star Teams

Team LeBron

Starters: LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry, DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Jokic

Reserves: Luka Doncic, Darius Garland, Chris Paul, Jimmy Butler, Donovan Mitchell, Fred VanVleet, James Harden

Team Durant

Starters: Joel Embiid, Ja Morant, Jayson Tatum, Trae Young, Andrew Wiggins

Reserves: Devin Booker, Karl Anthony Towns, Zach LaVine, DeJounte Murray, Khris Middleton, LaMelo Ball, Rudy Gobert  

Los Angeles Lakers coach Frank Vogel has not ruled out a trade involving Russell Westbrook ahead of Thursday's deadline.

Nine-time NBA All-Star Westbrook missed his first game of the season on Wednesday as the Lakers fell to a 107-105 defeat against the Portland Trail Blazers.

The 33-year-old's absence was put down to a back injury sustained the previous evening against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Westbrook spent the final quarter of that game watching from the sidelines, having earlier been jeered by his own fans, and later questioned Vogel's rotation policy.

That has done little to help the relationship between Westbrook and Vogel, with strong suggestions the 2017 MVP could be on his way out.

And rather than put an end to those rumours on the back of the defeat to Portland, Vogel instead offered a rather cryptic response.

Asked if there is a chance Westbrook will not be a part of the team once the trade deadline passes, Vogel said: "If there's a way to improve our team, we'll improve our team. 

"I've got nothing else to say about the trade deadline."

 

Westbrook, traded to the Lakers from the Washington Wizards last August, has 1,006 points for the season, a tally bettered only by LeBron James (1,133) among Lakers players.

But Westbrook's 18.3 average through 55 games is his lowest since 2009-10, and down from the 31.6 managed with Oklahoma City Thunder in 2016-17 when crowned MVP.

He was on court for just 26 minutes against the Bucks prior to hinting at his displeasure with Vogel, who in response insisted no player is bigger than the team.

"The needs of the team always come first," he said on Wednesday. "We have to be willing to do whatever it takes to get the Lakers a win. 

"Sometimes he's going to be in there for that, sometimes he's not."

The Lakers have now lost six of their last eight games and are 26-30 for the season, with a winning percentage of .464 placing them ninth in the Western Conference.

James, who top-scored for the Lakers against the Trail Blazers with 30 points, admitted the trade rumours are having a negative impact on his side.

"Obviously it's something that's weighing on this group that we're trying to all get through," he said.

"It almost feels like fog in the air and we're all trying to see what's on the other side of it."

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