Lakers News: LeBron James Says LA Needs to 'Decompress' During All-Star Break

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 13, 2019

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James is shown during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019, in Atlanta. The Hawks won 117-113. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
John Bazemore/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James stressed the importance of hitting the reset button during the upcoming All-Star break.

According to ESPN.com's Dave McMenamin, James said Tuesday after a 117-113 road loss to the Atlanta Hawks that those not taking part in the All-Star festivities would benefit from removing themselves from the basketball bubble for a few days.

"You got to decompress and get away from the game a little bit," James said. "Those guys will have a lot more time than I will, obviously. I'll be right back into it in two days. But just get fresh, get your minds right, get your bodies right. Come back with the notion that we'll make the playoffs."

With Tuesday's loss, the Lakers fell to 28-29, and they are 2.5 games behind the Sacramento Kings for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

James finished with 28 points, 16 assists, 11 rebounds and three steals in the loss to a Hawks team that is now just 19-38.

He acknowledged it's a tough pill to swallow:

"This is a tough loss for us. We didn't have consistent play from all facets of the game. Offensively and defensively, we jacked up a lot of coverages to start the game. In the third quarter, we jacked up a lot of our coverages again. It was always playing uphill like we've been doing of late. We've got to be a lot better."

James has played in five games since returning from a groin injury that cost him 17 contests. While he has been productive, the Lakers are just 2-3.

McMenamin noted that a James-led team has not been under .500 this late in the season since his rookie year with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003-04.

Most of the Lakers roster will have a chance to decompress in the coming days, but James is an exception. After being chosen as a captain, he will play in the All-Star Game and stands as the Lakers' lone representative.

Forward Kyle Kuzma is also in line for a busy weekend. In addition to playing in the Rising Stars Game, he will take part in the Skills Challenge.

The Lakers' slide down the standings during James' absence was understandable, but now that they are mostly healthy aside from missing Lonzo Ball with an ankle injury, the time to make a run is now.

L.A. has just 25 games remaining in the regular season, and the Lakers are currently the 10th seed.

Also, they may not be content to slip in as the No. 8 seed since it would likely mean a first-round matchup with the Golden State Warriors.

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