LeBron James not ready for Lakers return

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The loss was bad enough, but with LeBron James out for the sixth straight game, two of the Lakers most important players turned in perhaps their worst performances of the season. James, who averages 27.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.1 assists, is expected to be sidelined at least another week before his next evaluation, which is likely to be Friday.

LeBron James hasn't suited up since he left the game against the Warriors on Christmas Day with a groin injury. At some point, we need more passion, we need more fight.

The Lakers are 1-3 in James' absence. "They worked on it at halftime; just said, 'No go'".

If James were cleared to return following the team's re-evaluation, his first game back could come against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The lack of offensive options was clearly evident as the Lakers' starting five accounted for just 34 points on 11-for-41 shooting. Walton called out and questioned the passion of former lottery picks Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, who both had awful performances against the Timberwolves. We need that all the time from him. "It's hard to win in this league when you're healthy, so you gotta give double that effort when guys are down".

The Lakers on Friday said James' injury will be re-evaluated in one week. During the six-game stretch he's shooting 42.2 percent from the field and 23.1 percent from beyond the arc with more turnovers (21) than assists (20) and almost as many shots (102) as points (111).

Los Angeles signed James to a four-year, $153.3 million contract this summer.

The Lakers led by four points at the start of the fourth quarter but were outscored 29-18 and fell to a third loss in four games, having blown double-digit leads against the Kings and Clippers in that run.

But since then, the Lakers have lost direction, something that was very aptly captured in their last game against the Timberwolves, where in they were playing catch up all through to the final quarter.

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