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LeBron James says Lakers 'wrong franchise' for distracted players



MEMPHIS, Tenn. – With the Los Angeles Lakers taking one step forward, two steps backward during their post-All-Star playoff push following another defeat in the hands of a lesser opponent, LeBron James was asked if the pressure of it all became becoming a distraction to his team

"At this point, if you are still allowing distractions to affect how you play, then this is the wrong franchise to be a part of and you should just come and be like, 'Listen, I don 'I can not do that,' "James said following a 110-105 loss to Memphis Grizzlies on Monday

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The loss to a Grizzlies team that is 14 games under .500 came on the heels of a loss to a New Orleans Pelicans team that is 12 games under .500 and

And the Lakers' 0-2 road trip quickly erased any momentum they hoped to have generated from their 19-point comeback victory over the Houston Rockets in their first game out of the All-

With 22 games remaining in the regular season, the Lakers is 11th in the Western Conference standings, trailing the San Antonio Spurs for the eighth and final playoff spot by three games. , if you're distracted by the playoff, it pushes out all the stuff that's been talked about this year, huh, "James said. "Just come and do your job We do our job at a high level and that's not a distraction That's what you want It's what you want Every game You want to feel like you're fighting for something."

After suspensions, coaching rumors, trade talks, injuries, and a locker that has appeared disjointed at times, the Memphis game was mercifully just about basketball. And the Lakers showed more fight Monday than they did in New Orleans, but could not bring the score any more than two points in the fourth quarter after trailing by as many as 11.

James' career numbers took a leap forward – – he became the first player in league history to rank in the top 10 in both career scoring and career assists after passing Andre Miller for No. 1. 10 on the asists list, and his 24 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists, moved him past Wilt Chamberlain for No. 4. 5 on the all-time triple-doubles list with 79 – but it came on a night when he shot just 8-for-23 from the floor with five turnovers

Still, despite playing on a sub-.500 team the latest in a season since his second year in the league back in 2004-05 with the Cleveland Cavaliers, James expressed optimism – a sentiment echoed by most of the Lakers' locker room

"Just stay positive. know, starts with me, "James said. "I just got to stay positive, I'm going to knock on the door, and I'm like we play like we did tonight, then we've got to continue that consistent effort that will get us over the hump as we make this push." ​​[19659014] The eight-part docuseries, produced by UNINTERRUPTED and airing on ESPN +, will follow LeBron James and Maverick Carter's improbable journey from Akron to the global stage. Watch on ESPN +

Kyle Kuzma, who scored 22 against Memphis, noted the change in team vibe after challenging his teammates for their inconsistent body language in his comments to the media following the loss to the Pelicans. "It felt different," he said. "New Orleans, we thought we were just hopeless out there. We did not really get the lead back at all, and tonight we fought but at the end of the day, a loss is a loss and no matter what way you spin it , you still put an L in that column. "

Lakers coach Luke Walton lauded his team's" effort and togetherness, "he also suggested that the disappointment of the loss was necessary to stay between now and their next game on Wednesday those same Pelicans who just beat his team

"One game, feel this pain, let's not try to run from it," he said. "It's a good thing we have lost, but we've got 0-2 on this trip, but the only thing that matters is the next game, the chance to redeem ourselves against New Orleans. (19659002) Or, as Brandon Ingram, who kept his personal sharp play with a game-high 32 points, put it: "There is a certain fire that comes out when you continue to get what you do not want."


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