LeBron James Apologizes, Avenges Loss Beating Jazz
Actions speak louder than words, but LeBron James performed on both fronts admirably.
After apologizing to Lakers fans – “#LakerNation I apologize and I promise we’ll be better!” – his team held the top-ranked Utah Jazz offense to 36.9% shooting in a 101-95 victory on Monday.
#LakerNation I apologize and I promise we’ll be better! 👑💜💛
— LeBron James (@KingJames) January 17, 2022
“I think there’s a huge lesson to be learned with this group that we’re going nowhere without being a great defensive team,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “Our guys finally locked in, and this is the No. 1 offense in the league by a mile, and we did a great job in all phases.
“When we play like this, we know we can beat anybody. But it hasn’t been consistent enough, and there’s a big lesson to be learned from this game.”
L.A. lost by 37 in Denver on Saturday night, causing Lakers legend Magic Johnson to fire off a derisive tweet about the team’s effort.
James, unbecoming of him, then eschewed speaking to reporters after the rout, instead tweeting out his apology the next night and vowing to get better.
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 16, 2022
“I didn’t like what was gonna come out of my mouth,” James said after extending his streak to 14 games scoring 25 points or more since Anthony Davis was sidelined with a sprained MCL in his left knee. “So I decided not to speak with you guys.”
“Just taking the onus and letting Laker Nation know,” he added. “Wasn’t about anybody; it was about our fans and the people that ride and die with us every single day. Let them know that I got this and it wouldn’t happen again.”
Stanley Johnson, signed to a second 10-day contract last Monday, scored 10 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter, helping L.A. storm back from a nine-point deficit with under 10 minutes to play.
“LeBron’s a smart player. So [when he says], ‘Do this,’ OK, I’ll do it. ‘Do this.’ OK, I’ll do it too,” Johnson said of the game plan. “He saw something. I think if you watch basketball the last couple years, some teams have had success with smaller guys like me attacking [Gobert] off the bounce, and the thing for me is playing with energy.”
L.A. came into the game having lost three straight in which it allowed the opponent to score at least 125 points.
Davis was evaluated by team doctors on Monday and cleared to ramp up his workouts. Guard Kendrick Nunn, who has yet to play this season (bone bruise in knee), will be delayed due to a setback.
“I love the way we responded today,” James said. “Wednesday [against the visiting Indiana Pacers] will be another challenge for us.
“We’ll see what happens.”