NBA

LeBron James rues 'rough' weekend as Lakers lose again on New Year's Eve

By Sports Desk January 01, 2024

LeBron James said it had been a "rough" New Year's weekend after playing through illness as the Los Angeles Lakers suffered their second defeat in as many days on Sunday.

James played through flu-like symptoms as the Lakers suffered a contentious 108-106 defeat to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday, being denied a potential game-tying three-pointer with 3.3 seconds remaining.

On New Year's Eve, the New Orleans Pelicans dropped Los Angeles to 17-17 with a comprehensive 129-109 success at Smoothie King Center, Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram posting 26 points apiece.

James scored a game-high 34 and former Pelican Anthony Davis had 20 points and 10 rebounds as the Lakers suffered a seventh loss in nine games, leaving the league's all-time leading scorer to reflect on a difficult few days.

"We have to figure it out and get better, for sure," James said. "We're not a team that likes to play from behind. We've been in that position a lot this year.

"The flight last night did not help, obviously. We didn't get to the hotel last night until 3:45 a.m., so, it was a rough day trying to recalibrate and get ready for the game. 

"But I'm happy I was able to go out and just try to make some plays happen for my team."

A raucous New Orleans crowd was on its feet when Jose Alvarado made steals from both James and Davis during the second quarter, with his team up by 19 points at that stage.

The 25-year-old was delighted to give himself a highlight-reel moment against one of the all-time greats, saying: "LeBron, he's one of the greatest players to ever play this game and for me to be on the court, for me to get steals, for me to do anything… that's pretty amazing.

"When I get back to watch videos when I grow old, and they say that he is the best player to play this game, at least I got a video of him, with me getting a steal."

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