Lakers continue their slow fade into the sunset — The Sports Report

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The Lakers have the talent to get back into the postseason push - see LeBron James' triple-double and Brandon Ingram's 32 points in Monday's loss to Memphis - but they don't have the luxury of time to waste.

Fast forward to the 2018-19 season, and James is in a different conference, wearing the iconic Los Angeles Lakers' purple and gold and in almost the same situation.

When the context of the question was released, people realized James wasn't calling out his youngsters for being bothered by the trade rumors.

James was speaking to the enormous media focus on the team potentially missing the playoffs.

"We like where we are", said James, according to ESPN's Dave McMenamin.

The Pelicans beat the Lakers without the services of Anthony Davis, their high-profile star who recently asked to be traded from New Orleans.

Memphis led 105-98 with 1:42 left, but a 3-pointer from Kuzma and a three-point play from James pulled the Lakers within 105-103 with a minute left.

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Smith, however, pointed out the roster's deficiencies were well known when LeBron swapped Cleveland for Los Angeles last summer and that a fully fit James would have found a way around the problem.

A video surfaced Monday night of LeBron helping out the superstar rapper while his team was traveling to play the best team in the National Basketball Association for a game that LeBron missed due to "load management". "Even during the All-Star draft, he laughed about [wanting Davis to be his teammate]".

The loss prompted James to call out his teammates for "allowing distractions to affect the way you play".

Frankly, James hasn't even been playing with the full level of effort we're used to seeing from him, like this particular display on defense (notice how he blamed his teammates?). "I'm not accustomed to it, I'd never get comfortable with losing". That's what you want.

"I mean, I think everybody wants to play the fourth quarter", Davis said at the Pelicans' morning shootaround.

Following public trade-deadline talks that exposed every Laker not named LeBron James as expendable, Los Angeles has lost four of five games and looks increasingly like a team that's going to miss the playoffs.

"It was cool but I knew I wasn't going to get to number one", Harden said.