Lakers’ Darvin Ham Reveals LeBron James’ Status vs. Spurs

Lakers star LeBron James collides with Spurs player

Getty LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers is fouled by Zach Collins #23 of the San Antonio Spurs.

After stumbling out of the gate following the NBA All-Star break, the Los Angeles Lakers will welcome LeBron James back to the lineup when they face Victor Wembanyama and the San Antonio Spurs on Friday, February 23, at home.

“We will get an official word [Friday] morning and see but in all likelihood [James] should be out there [Friday against the Spurs],” Lakers coach Darvin Ham told reporters after their 128-110 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Thursday, February 22, on the road.

Without James (left ankle peroneal tendinopathy) and Christian Wood (left knee effusion), the Lakers got outrebounded 48-41. The Warriors grabbed 15 offensive rebounds which led to a 23-13 edge in second-chance points.

‘It’s a Grown Man’s League’

The Lakers were also missing their other frontcourt players Jarred Vanderbilt (right midfoot sprain) and Cam Reddish (right ankle sprain).

“It’s a grown man’s league,” Ham said. “We got to figure out a way even if it’s everybody boxing out and then running once we gain possession of a defensive rebound then we have to make that adjustment.

We have to make it pretty quickly because those guys won’t be in the lineup [on Friday] either. [James] will be back but we got to push through and during this down period for some of our guys as they try to nurse themselves back to good health.”

Their biggest challenge on Friday night is to keep Wembanyama off the paint.

Wembanyama is coming off a monster game on Thursday in a close 127-122 Spurs loss to the Sacramento Kings. The 7-foot-4 French rookie had a complete game, producing 19 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 steals and 5 blocks.

What the Lakers Should Do to Bounce Back

Thursday’s loss at Golden State halted the Lakers’ three-game winning streak. The Warriors 28-26) have pulled within a half-game behind the Lakers (30-27) for the ninth seed in the Western Conference.

The Lakers’ goal is to climb to at least sixth and get out of the play-in tournament. But for them to do that, Ham reminded the Lakers to keep doing what worked during their 6-1 stretch before the All-Star break.

“Just doing the simple things,” Ham said. “Keeping it simple and being consistent at the simple things within the game. You don’t want to overreact because first and foremost at the top of the list for us trying to get to where we’re trying to get to, we got to get healthy.

We got to get bodies back in the lineup. That said we still have a bunch of capable players in that locker room and we can’t make up our own coverages or start doing things just because we’re fatigued or we’re lost or whatever. We’re going to cover from one on another but we also have to know at the start what the plan is and stick to that plan.”

Ham said they will correct their mistakes and show them during film viewing before they take on the Spurs.