LeBron James says the Lakers know how they rate, but what’s next?

Lakers forward LeBron James elevates for a reverse dunk.
Lakers forward LeBron James elevates for a reverse dunk Saturday against the Knicks.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

LeBron James sat in a chair after the Lakers practiced Monday, his left knee wrapped, his body feeling “pretty good” and nosetbacks after playing nearly 40 minutes Saturday in their overtime win over the New York Knicks.

James, who missed the previous five games with because of knee soreness, said “No” when asked if his knee had been drained of any fluid.

Though he had been out almost two weeks while recovering, James returned to play at the same high level he had displayed before getting injured. He posted a triple-double of 29 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists.


“Obviously yesterday was like around-the-clock treatment and as much rest as I can get,” James said. “And today will be the same thing. I feel pretty good today. Looking forward to seeing how I feel tomorrow and go from there.

“But I don’t think I had a setback, and I just want to continue to try to keep the treatment and rehab and things I’ve been doing over the last couple weeks to get me back on the floor. So, I’m gonna continue that over the next 24 hours.”

Russell Westbrook’s ongoing struggles might force the Lakers to look at him more in a support role to LeBron James and Anthony Davis, not a co-star.

Feb. 6, 2022

The Lakers (26-28) are in ninth place in the Western Conference, currently putting them in the play-in tournament. They just beat a Knicks team that’s five games below .500 and isn’t even in the Eastern Conference postseason picture.

Yet, James remains optimistic about who the Lakers are and have a chance to become.

“Yeah, I think it stems from some of the games that we’ve played, some of the quarters that we’ve had,” he said. “The film work that we put in, that we know we can catch a rhythm and we can play some really good ball. We also know that we can play some not-so-good ball as well. So, we’re hoping we can find a more consistent approach to how we approach the game, both from an offensive standpoint and a defensive standpoint, to put us in a position where we feel like we can make a run at this thing going down the stretch.”

Perhaps facing the defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday at Arena will be another gauge for the Lakers to see how they rate against one of the best teams in the league.

“Obviously you always kind of use games to see where you are at that moment,” James said. “But we know where we are at this moment: sitting at a couple, few games under .500. Haven’t played the basketball that we’d like to play. So, it’s not like a stepping-stone or [finding out] where we are. We know where we are right now.”


Part of James’ job is to support Russell Westbrook through his struggles.

Westbrook was one for 10 from the field against the Knicks, scored just five points, was booed by the hometown fans and benched for overtime.

“For me as a brother for Russ, at the end of the day, I only care about his state of mind and how much he can give to himself,” James said. “If he commits to himself, then it trickles down to the rest of us. So, I don’t really get involved in all the other schematics and things off the floor. All I care about is how he is, how his well-being is, how his family is doing.

“The game will translate. If you put the work in, the game will translate. Guys struggle all the time. Guys feel like they are not themselves or feel like they can do more and that’s OK. But at the end of the day, as his brother, we’re all in this together. We’re all in the foxhole together. There is not one guy who is doing it by themself. There’s not one guy you can blame over another guy. There’s not one guy who gets the praise over another guy. When we lose, we all lose. When we win, we all win. It’s really that simple.”




When: 7 p.m., Tuesday

On the air: TV: TNT; Radio: 710, 1330

Update: Forward Carmelo Anthony (right hamstring strain) is listed as out and backup center Dwight Howard (lower back tightness) is questionable. Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo is as good as ever, averaging 28.9 points (second in the NBA), 11.2 rebounds (7th) and 1.4 blocks (11th). Milwaukee averages 112.7 points, the fourth highest in the league.