KEY POINTS

  • LeBron James returned for the Lakers against the Kings but missed a potential game-winning shot
  • James admitted he may not be able to return to 100% health again
  • Frank Vogel needs other players to step up if they want to make it back-to-back NBA title wins

LeBron James is officially back for the Los Angeles Lakers, although the four-time NBA champion is still a bit rusty. The 36-year-old found himself in a familiar situation for the purple and gold and had the chance to cap off a long-awaited and solid return with a game-winner. Unfortunately, his potential game-winning three-pointer missed its mark, allowing the Sacramento Kings to run away with a 110-106 win.

For now, the good news for any Los Angeles Lakers fan is that James is back from the longest injury-related layoff. He finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in 32 minutes of action. It was a credible performance from someone who sat out 20 games in six weeks due to a high ankle sprain to the right leg, ESPN reported.

While the production is familiar, most know that James can do more. His return also officially means that the Lakers have everyone back in tow as they gear up for the NBA playoffs.

Things will not be easy for Los Angeles, which is at the fifth spot with a 36-27 win-loss card in the Western Conference. And if they are not careful, the Lakers could dip, with the Dallas Mavericks just half a game behind them.

Anthony Davis mentioned recently that they need to play with a sense of desperation, pointing out that they were not far from being in a play-in game. If they are not careful, that could be a risky drop for a team that has an ambitious bid to make it back-to-back NBA titles.

Lakers coach Frank Vogel said he knows that they were asking too much by expecting James to return with a bang. He tapered expectations and warned that the four-time NBA MVP is expected to show some rust. However, there is time for him to recall his old groove with nine regular-season games remaining.

James’ return to the Los Angeles Lakers is good news, but it remains that he is not the only one that Vogel is relying on. Davis is slowly getting there, while others like Dennis Schroder, Montrezl Harrell and Andre Drummond need to do their part. Chemistry is seen as one of the major blocks they need to address if they want to win it all again this NBA season.

As for James, he appears to be aware that he cannot do it all by himself. Speaking to Ryan Ward of Lakers Nation, the 36-year-old admitted that he can't get back to 100% in his career. Hence, other Lakers players need to fulfill their role if they want another NBA ring.

“Getting back to 100% is impossible. I don’t think I’ll get back to 100% in my career,” James stated.

NBA star LeBron James explained his deleting a tweet about the fatal police shooting of a 16-year-old Black girl by saying he wants to see accountability and not hate or anger reflected in social justice discusions NBA star LeBron James explained his deleting a tweet about the fatal police shooting of a 16-year-old Black girl by saying he wants to see accountability and not hate or anger reflected in social justice discusions Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Alex Goodlett