The Cavs believe Lakers' struggles will fuel LeBron

Love and Drew say LeBron will use struggles as motivation

James Rapien
March 10, 2019 - 7:51 pm
March 9, 2019; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) during a stoppage in play against the Boston Celtics in the second half at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

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Cleveland, OH (92.3 The Fan) – Cavaliers head coach Larry Drew didn’t hesitate when asked about the Lakers’ struggles in LeBron James’ first season in Los Angeles.

“It’s going to motivate him even more,” Drew said. “I think it’s going to fuel him even more because that’s just the kind of player he is. He’s a driven player.”

Los Angeles is 30-36 this season and 11th place in the Western Conference. Some have questioned James’ decision to join a young Lakers team. The 15-time All-Star led his team to the NBA Finals for eight consecutive years. James’ team has qualified the playoffs in every year since his rookie campaign in 2003. Both of those streaks are going to end this season.

“They have a lot of talent,” Kevin Love said after Sunday’s practice. “The NBA can come at you fast. Speaking of reassessing the offseason, I know that they’ll get to that and the front office and organization will get to that, but for Bron it could be a really good thing.

“If there’s one guy that doesn’t need any more ammo or inspiration it’s Bron and he’s going to get that being out for the whole summer.”

James is averaging 27 points, 8.6 rebounds and 8.1 assists-per-game. The stats are there, but the health wasn’t. The Lakers, like the Cavaliers, have been plagued by injuries.

James suffered the first major injury of his career, missing 18 games with a strained groin. Young players like Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram have missed significant time. Rajon Rondo was out for an extended period. The struggles have people wondering if James is still the best player on the planet?

“He’s one of, if not the biggest competitor I’ve been around,” Love said. “He lives, breathes, sleeps and eats basketball. He knows everything that he does off the floor from family, to the I Promise School to everything – it doesn’t happen without that basketball so I can imagine it’s got to be tough for him.”

The Lakers have lost five-straight games and are 4-11 since James returned from his groin injury.

“I kind of knew what I was getting myself into,” James told reporters after Saturday’s loss to Boston. “I didn’t expect to be out five and a half weeks at a crucial point in our season. We also didn’t expect our other brain of the team Rajon Rondo to be out five and a half weeks. We both got hurt at the same time and I think it just took a hit on our team at that point in time, which was a critical part going into the New Year.”

James is in uncharted waters. He’s never been on a team that’s struggled down the stretch like the Lakers have. How will he respond? Will Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka make the necessary changes to the roster? Do superstar players want to join James in Los Angeles? Those are just some of the many questions James and the Lakers face going into the offseason.

If the Cavs’ endorsements are accurate, then the kid from Akron is going to be just fine.