Lakers validate LeBron's proclamations of progress with win at Portland


As the Los Angeles Lakers prepared to play their first game since news emerged of coach Luke Walton's heated meeting with president of basketball of operations Magic Johnson, LeBron James said his focus - and his team's - remains exclusively on winning.

The Lakers coaching staff is feeling some pressure after Johnson's latest talk.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin report that Johnson laid into head coach Luke Walton in a meeting on Tuesday after the Lakers lost consecutive road games to the San Antonio Spurs and Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Lakers bounced back from the road trip with a 114-113 win over the Dallas Mavericks on home court Thursday night.

L.A. opened the season in Portland just over two weeks ago and has been on a roller-coaster ride ever since, starting 0-3, winning two in a row, then losing two in a row, prompting the Johnson-Walton session after seven games. Five hours later, he saved the Los Angeles Lakers from a horrifying ending. "Unless you hold a team to 80 or 90 you'll always find things you have to get better at".

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This was the second straight game in which the Lakers avoided a collapse.

According to National Basketball Association insiders Adrian Wojnarowski and Dave McMenamin, Magic Johnson "admonished" Walton over the Lake-Show's sluggish start. Unsurprisingly, the Lakers have struggled to win games this season despite being competitive in all of them.

"If they need help, shoot, I'll coach them", Ball said. Is Walton going to be fired?

"Great to snap that", James said of the Lakers' streak of futility against Portland. I've been saying [and] we've been saying since the beginning: We're going to be patient. We knew we were going to have a lineup change there. "I know the turnovers between one timeout and the next timeout, we had two or three turnovers that they converted right away, and that's when the lead kind of ballooned from 8 to 15". "It's our choice either to hang on to those, or it's our choice to stay present and focus our energy and time on what we can do to get better". I think this season has to settle in to see where we are with it.

The headlines from Saturday will lead with the addition of Tyson Chandler.