LOS ANGELES: LeBron James received a rapturous reception in his home debut for the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila) but was unable to prevent his new team from slipping to a second pre-season defeat to the Denver Nuggets.
James, who joined the Lakers in July from the Cleveland Cavaliers on a four-year deal, was given a rousing standing ovation by the Staples Center crowd as he arrived on court.
The 33-year-old delighted the crowd with some silky touches during 15 first-half minutes.
He finished with 13 points, three assists, three rebounds, two steals and four turnovers during 15 minutes on court in the first half before sitting out all of the second half.
The game ended in a 113-111 win for Denver, who had also beaten the Lakers in San Diego on Sunday in James’ first game with his new club.
Earlier Tuesday, James told reporters he was still adjusting to his new environment, and once again cautioned that the new-look Lakers squad would take time to gel.
“We’ve got a new group. We’re not at the level that a lot of the teams are in terms of cohesiveness and chemistry,” James said following morning practice.
“Every day is another opportunity for us to get better.”
Durant ‘at home’ with Warriors, but undecided on future
Kevin Durant feels at home with the Golden State Warriors but admits he has made no decision regarding his future when he enters free agency next year.
The 30-year-old two-time NBA Finals MVP told ESPN on Tuesday that while he was settled in California, he was keeping his options open for 2019.
Durant will be one of the highest-profile players to become a free agent next year, and is almost certain to attract interest from rival clubs.
Durant, who joined the Warriors from the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2016, emphasised that he was enjoying life with the reigning NBA champions, who have won back-to-back titles since his arrival.
“It’s just where I want to play ball at, where I’m most comfortable, where I feel most at home, and I feel at home here,” Durant told ESPN.
“I feel like I belong here. I feel like I mix with this team, I mesh with this team well. With that being said, I really don’t know what’s going to happen this summer.
“But I really, really feel like a part of this team. We got two banners up there, my picture’s around here somewhere so I feel like I’m a part of this thing — but at the end of the day, we’re staying in the moment.”
Durant’s immediate focus is on helping the Warriors extend their dynasty.
The club has won three NBA championships in the past four seasons, and will start as favourites to win a fourth when the new season gets under way later this month.
“We’re trying to embrace every single moment,” Durant said. “I’m not saying we’re going to win a championship at all, but we’re just focused on having a good practice today, having a good practice tomorrow and then we’ll see what happens at the end.”
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