James told NBA on TNT's Rosalyn Gold-Onwude after the game that he's "happy with who we've got" and "love[s] our squad":
Some wondered whether the trade deadline would have a galvanizing effect on the Lakers after their public pursuit of Anthony Davis failed. The team's front office indirectly created an us-against-them dynamic inside its own organization.
The Los Angeles Times' Broderick Turner reported Los Angeles had offered Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, Ivica Zubac, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and two first-round picks for Davis. Instead of adding Davis, the Lakers had to welcome back a number of young players they were willing to sacrifice for a marquee star.
Perhaps Thursday represents a turning point for L.A. The team had the All-Star break to move on from any lingering issues and refocus for the stretch run. Overcoming a 19-point deficit represents a step in the right direction.
However, the Lakers seemingly had a similar result two weeks ago when Rajon Rondo's buzzer-beater was the difference in a 129-128 road win over the Boston Celtics. Los Angeles responded with two straight losses, the latter of which came at the hands of the 19-win Atlanta Hawks.
And for as much as James wants to talk up his supporting cast, the four-time MVP had to play 40 minutes against Houston. In order to climb into the top eight of the Western Conference, the Lakers might have to lean on LeBron in the same way the Cleveland Cavaliers did in recent seasons.
The good news for the Lakers is that they play the New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies—two teams clearly out of the playoff race—over their next three games. They have a great opportunity to continue building on the momentum they generated Thursday.