NBA

LeBron says 'job is not done' after reaching NBA Finals as Lakers star recalls Kobe legacy

By Sports Desk September 27, 2020

LeBron James insisted the "job is not done" after guiding the Los Angeles Lakers to the NBA Finals for the first time in 10 years.

James posted a triple-double as the top-seeded Lakers beat the Denver Nuggets 117-107 on Saturday to seal a 4-1 series victory in the Western Conference finals.

The three-time NBA champion had 38 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists to lead the Lakers back to the Finals, having not featured in the showpiece since winning their last title in 2010.

But as James prepares for his 10th Finals appearance, after missing the playoffs in his first season with the Lakers, the 35-year-old superstar was grounded post-game in Orlando, Florida.

"The job is not done," said James, whose Lakers will face either the Miami Heat or the Boston Celtics. "But it's great to appreciate the moments throughout the course of a journey.

"I am extremely proud to be a part of this franchise getting back to where it belongs, playing and competing for championships. This is what I came here for."

It was James' 27th career playoff triple-double as the four-time MVP eyes a fourth championship ring.

All-Star team-mate Anthony Davis contributed 27 points for the Lakers, who will make their 32nd Finals appearance.

"In a closeout game, I am just as desperate as the team that we are trying to closeout. I don't want to play another game," James said.

"I am not undefeated in closeout games, but if we have the chance to win I don't want to play another game."

James then recalled the legacy of Kobe Bryant, who led the Lakers to their most recent championship a decade ago.

Bryant – the victim of a tragic helicopter crash in January – was crowned MVP as the Lakers beat the Celtics in the 2010 Finals and the NBA legend continues to inspire James and others.

"Every time you put on purple and gold, you think about his legacy, you think about him and what he meant to this franchise for 20-plus years and what he stood for both on the floor and off the floor," James added.

"What he demanded out of his team-mates, what he demanded out of himself. We have some similarities in that sense.

"Our games are different. But as far as our mindset and our drive to want to be the best, and our drive to not lose ... just that drive to always want to be victorious. It stops you from sleeping."

Related items

  • Timberwolves star Towns reveals he has lost seven family members to coronavirus Timberwolves star Towns reveals he has lost seven family members to coronavirus

    Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns revealed he had lost seven family members to coronavirus.

    Towns, 25, lost his mother, Jacqueline Cruz-Towns, due to complications from COVID-19 in April.

    The two-time NBA All-Star said his mum was one of seven family members he had seen die from coronavirus.

    "I've been through a lot, obviously starting out with my mum," Towns told reporters on Friday.

    "Last night I got a call that I lost my uncle. I feel like I've been hardened a little bit by life and humbled."

    He added: "I've seen a lot of coffins in the last seven months.

    "I have a lot of people who have – in my family and my mum's family – gotten COVID. I'm the one looking for answers still, trying to find how to keep them healthy.

    "It's just a lot of responsibility on me to keep my family well-informed and to make all the moves necessary to keep them alive."

    Towns averaged a career-high 26.5 points last season, to go with 10.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists, but was limited to just 35 games because of injuries.

    Minnesota, who struggled to a 19-45 record, will open their 2020-21 season against the Detroit Pistons on December 23.

  • Simmons believes 76ers can win NBA championship Simmons believes 76ers can win NBA championship

    Ben Simmons believes he can help lead the Philadelphia 76ers to an NBA title alongside Joel Embiid.

    Doc Rivers has replaced Brett Brown as head coach of the 76ers, who have reached the playoffs in each of the past three seasons but are without a championship since 1983.

    Simmons' chemistry with Embiid has been questioned, although Philadelphia have a 64.7 win percentage when they both play compared to 41.6 when one or both misses a game since 2016-17.

    The top pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, Simmons believes the 76ers – who have added the likes of Dwight Howard, Danny Green and Seth Curry in the offseason – are on the right track ahead of the upcoming campaign.

    "I think Joel and I both realise how unique and special this moment is. For two guys, like us, to be on the same team at a young age," Simmons said.

    "You know everybody wanted it [for him and Embiid to be coached by Brown] for the first couple of years, but it didn't happen and it doesn't work like that.

    "We have a new opportunity, we have new guys on the team, new leadership. And I think we can go all the way. I wouldn't be sitting here if I didn't believe it and I don't think Dwight would be either if he didn't believe it."

    Simmons, who averaged 16.4 points, eight assists and 7.8 rebounds during the 2019-20 regular season, joked he was moving in with Embiid.

    Meanwhile, Embiid also dismissed reports which questioned his relationship with Simmons.

    "I mean we can't hang out off the court. I have got a newborn, I've got a family to take care of, trying to stay safe, I don't want to get the virus and I don't want to give it to anybody," he said.

    "I am going to do the same thing that I have always done and that is to make sure I always protect my family, and the people I am around, and then also my team-mates. It is just doing the right things.

    "But we have been texting a lot, we have been communicating a lot. The notion of what people have been saying in the past, I just don't think it's true. You know, on the court, if you are looking at two years ago, when we had a lot of space and we were able to dominate together. That was just the way to go. And, last year was just different because we didn't have... that wasn't the same as we have always had. To be able to do the same things that we've been doing in the last couple of years.

    "Our relationship is great. We have been way closer, even on the court. If we have got to walk out, we are walking out together as a group. If we gotta play two on two, I want him on my team. You know just playing ball together and just going from there.

    "You know the national media always trying to create stories because they don't have anything to talk about, but we are fine. We know where we are, we know what our goals are and we know what it takes to accomplish it. We have been through a lot and we are just going to keep working hard and stay together to try to make it [winning a championship] happen."

    The 76ers begin their 2020-21 season against the Washington Wizards on December 23.

  • Lakers are lucky to have LeBron and Davis – Vogel Lakers are lucky to have LeBron and Davis – Vogel

    Frank Vogel said the Los Angeles Lakers were "lucky" to have LeBron James and Anthony Davis after the pair re-signed.

    James and Davis have agreed to new contracts with the Lakers ahead of the 2020-21 NBA season after helping the team win the championship in October.

    Vogel believes the Lakers are fortunate to have the duo, who were both All-Stars last season.

    "Those two guys are the cornerstones of our franchise and everything is going to be built around them. Similar to the way we structured things last year," the Lakers head coach told reporters.

    "That's the way it's going to be going forward. We are extremely grateful and lucky to have those guys with our team, to lead our team for years going forward.

    "Those two guys are going to be pillars for us."

    After his arrival from the New Orleans Pelicans ahead of 2019-20, Davis became the highest scoring team-mate of James' career – averaging 26.1 points per game.

    Only James Harden and Russell Westbrook at the Houston Rockets (61.5) and Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum at the Portland Trail Blazers (52.2) averaged more points per game last season than James and Davis. Both Houston and Portland lost to the Lakers in the postseason.

    Davis, who has agreed to a deal reportedly worth $190million over five years, said his goal for 2020-21 was to win another title.

    "It's really hard for me to set goals like MVP and DPOY [Defensive Player of the Year]. I just kind of let that fall into place," he said.

    "If I go out there and play the way I'm supposed to and up to my potential, those things just happen. The goal is winning another championship, my goal is to be on the floor as much as possible and not get injured.

    "Some little things I love to set goals for myself. I don't aim for MVP or DPOY, if it comes it comes. It's more so just staying on the floor with my history of injuries.

    "Those type of things I set goals for myself and doing whatever I can do to help the team win."

    The Lakers will begin their season against the Los Angeles Clippers on December 22.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.