JaVale McGee, who continues to be a revelation for the Lakers, came up with a big offensive rebound and then a reverse layup to push the lead to seven before the Lakers held on.
If James ends up being similarly disgruntled with Walton, it's hard to see Johnson pushing back on the superstar's demands. This, of course, occurs in the context of a LeBron James team, so naturally James is going to have some sway over the team's direction. Unsurprisingly, the Lakers have struggled to win games this season despite being competitive in all of them.
Expectations are obviously sky-high now that LeBron is a Laker, but the team's 3-5 start should not come as a shock.
But James doesn't want to hear it. Those are the things that feel good.
James and the Lakers said they were focused on blocking out the drama surrounding Johnson's Tuesday meeting with Walton. And with the result, James' claims of progress were validated.
"It's Halloween so we had to give the crowd a scare, I guess", said James. "Especially in a hostile building like this". "This is something we do all the time. We plan on winning those in the future". "But we are much more of a unit today than we were two weeks ago".
Walton was also vocal about his pride regarding the Lakers defensive effort.
"Our defense won us the game tonight", Walton said. The Blazers were an atrocious 6-35 from beyond the arc, with several of them being wide open looks.
Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum each scored 30 points for Portland. "If you mess with the game, the game will mess with you and I thought we did that a little bit". He's leading the league in blocks.
James missed the first free throw but made the second. "We've got to figure groups out", Walton said.
Tyson Chandler was bought out by the Phoenix Suns on Saturday. But what can't be overlooked is the fact that the Lakers are feeling good about themselves, with Walton leading the list.
"It's great to win period".
"Luke can care less about what's going on outside". I'm the last person to ask about scrutiny or anything of that nature. "So none of that stuff matters to me", he added. With Saturday's win, they now sit at 4-5. "We know where we're going, we know how to get there".
James has a close relationship with both men. "Coach is always preaching that whether you're in the lineup or in the rotation you have to be ready. So he was huge for us". "His consistency of what he's been doing for us".
"If you have length and speed you can beat them". He sprints that lane, he's getting to the dunker, he's blocking a shot on one end and leading the break on the other.
"I don't like to assume that people know what I'm thinking".
National Basketball Association icon LeBron James helped the Lakers end a 16-game losing streak against the Blazers in the early hours on Sunday morning.
And the timeout might have been just what Portland needed to get back into the game. If anything, LeBron and this young core of guys were more likely to get off to a tremendously hot start and begin to hit some rough patches a third of the way into the season as the momentum and adrenaline from the new season wore off.