LeBron James vows return to playoffs after disappointing season

Annette Crawford
March 15, 2019

Los Angeles Lakers managed to end their five game losing streak in the National Basketball Association, beating opponents Chicago Bulls 123-107 in an away game late Tuesday.

LeBron James of the Lakers insists he will return to the playoffs soon.

Elfrid Payton had his second consecutive triple-double, finishing with 14 points, a career-high 15 rebounds and 11 assists to become the first New Orleans player to have a triple-double in back-to-back games since Chris Paul in 2008.

James said that Tuesday's game - relatively meaningless, as it was against a Bulls team that came into the night 30 games under.500 - was a testament to his overall approach to the game.

The young core, led by Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma, tried to rally the Lakers to victories, but it was clear that they weren't getting enough support from the bench, which consisted of Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee, and the now traded Michael Beasley.

Also, Bulls guard Kris Dunn scored 18 points, had seven rebounds and made nine assists.

"We started to have fun", Kuzma said. "Everybody had a joy for the game, happy for each other". Everybody was moving the ball, passing it. "So he's frustrated with it too, and he's continuing to battle out there, and he did a really nice job of helping us get a win tonight".

The Bulls led 60-55 at the half.

In the Chicago Bulls, center Robin Lopez scored 20 points and had seven rebounds.

His first highlight-reel slam came early in the third quarter, in the form of a very rare full court, bounce-pass alley-oop. He scored the first six points for Los Angeles, including a breakaway reverse dunk from Kuzma. The Lakers took a 66-64 lead when James found Kuzma for a layup with 8:49 in the third quarter. Rajon Rondo buried a 3 to give the Lakers a 98-84 lead going to the fourth. He was 4 of 17 for 11 points. "To say, we need him to play better for us to have a chance to win is the way to say it", Bulls coach Jim Boylen said.

If the lead dwindled into single digits, James was prepared to close things out and bring his minutes total to 36 or more, if an overtime session were needed. But because he signed a four-year contract with the Lakers last summer, there will be more hands to be played in L.A. "And he needs to, obviously, make open shots". Those games will be like playoff games, if we want them to be. "They'll get an opportunity to learn, and I get an opportunity to play with them, so we can take that out of it for sure". If you told me we were healthy, I would've told you there is something wrong.

Tuesday's win snapped a five-game losing streak for the Lakers. He was in a nice groove, nice rhythm. "That's what I preach so I've got to live by that".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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