LeBron James Says Lakers Must Play 'Mistake-Free Basketball' Because of Injuries

Adam WellsJanuary 19, 2023

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 18: LeBron James #6 of the Los Angeles Lakers handles the ball during the game against the Sacramento Kings  on January 18, 2023 at Crypto.Com Arena in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Having lost four of their last five games and dealing with a lack of depth due to injuries, LeBron James knows the Los Angeles Lakers have virtually no margin for error right now.

Speaking to reporters after Wednesday's 116-111 loss to the Sacramento Kings, James said the Lakers have to play "mistake-free basketball" in order to win games.

"We are limited with bodies," he added. "So until some of our big guys or some of our key guys get back ... we got to continue to play how we've played the last couple games."

Anthony Davis has been out of action since Dec. 16 with a stress injury in his foot. The Lakers haven't officially announced a return timetable, but Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported the 29-year-old is targeting early February to play in a few games before the All-Star break.

Lonnie Walker IV has missed 10 consecutive games due to left knee tendinitis. Austin Reaves hasn't played since Jan. 4 due to a strained hamstring.

Head coach Darvin Ham told reporters earlier this week that Reaves has been doing individual on-court work and Walker lV is progressing, but he didn't provide a definite timeline for their returns.

The Lakers held workouts with DeMarcus Cousins and Meyers Leonard on Jan. 13. Neither player has been signed at this point, but the team has an open roster spot it can fill.

Los Angeles' lack of depth is putting a heavy burden on James. The 38-year-old is averaging 36.3 minutes per game, tied for eighth in the NBA. He's been fantastic since Davis went down with 34.4 points, 8.1 assists and 8.1 rebounds per game in his last 14 starts.

Having dug themselves into a hole with a 20-25 record, the Lakers are going to be fighting an uphill battle as they try to make the playoffs.