Tyron Lue has the championship ring to prove it.
“My saying was,” Lue said, “ ‘We got LeBron James; we always got a chance to win.’ ”
But what if you don’t have him?
The Lakers, who were already losing with James on the court, could be facing even more problems with him off of it. James exited midway through the fourth quarter of Wednesday night’s game as he grabbed at the inside of his left thigh.
The team eventually called the injury “left leg soreness.”
James sat out 17 games after straining his left groin in his first season with the Lakers, later saying it was partially torn.
James said Wednesday the injury didn’t feel as bad as the one in 2018. He said he’ll undergo imaging on the injury Thursday.
“I didn’t do anything extraneous on the play,” he said. “Just when I landed, I felt a little spasm or strain in my groin.”
James said that he planned to receive treatment around the clock, and if things worked out, he hoped to be on the court when the Lakers host the Sacramento Kings on Friday.
Before getting hurt, James scored 30 points, capturing an offensive rhythm for the first time since early in the season, hitting four of nine three-point shots. But after posting up on Paul George with just under six minutes left and drawing a foul, James winced in pain and started to grab at the inside of his leg. At the next stoppage in play, he limped off the court and directly into the tunnel.
The Lakers fell to 2-9, losing to the Clippers 114-101 at Crypto.com Arena.
“It’s just a lot of adversity,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said, `
It’s the latest bit of early season problems facing the Lakers and Ham, who have already seen two players undergo the same thumb surgery, a stomach virus rip through the locker room and persistent injuries to their two biggest stars.
Anthony Davis has been dealing with back pain since the preseason, giving him a permanent spot on the team’s injury report early this season. In the first half Wednesday, he appeared to reaggravate the issue, grabbing at his back after one play.
James has also been a regular on the team’s injury report because of left foot soreness, sitting out the team’s game in Utah on Monday because of it. Before Wednesday‘s game, James said the injury would heal only if he didn’t play.
“Rest is the only way to help it, which I don’t have. So I’ll play it day by day,” James said pregame. “I’ll be in the lineup tonight.”
But Friday? Who knows?
“Still got to try to find ways to get wins whether he’s in the lineup or not,” Davis said.
Ham said he encouraged James to take his time and make sure his recovery is complete.
“ ‘Do what you need to do, take care of your body and just listen. Do what you’ve always done,’ ” Ham said he told James. “He’s a professional, top of the food chain in so many areas, and one of those areas is he really responds proactively to how his body presents himself physically to play at the level he plays at. Again, I think I mentioned how he’s the last guy I’m worried about in terms of taking care of his body, proper nutrition, rest, exercise, all of that. He’s a five-star general in that department, among many others.”