The Los Angeles Rams are now only one step away from their first NFL Super Bowl since 2002 after beating the Dallas Cowboys 30-22.

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is taking steps toward getting back on the court following an evaluation on Thursday.

The 34-year-old has not played since suffering a groin strain in the third quarter of the Lakers' win over the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day.

He underwent an MRI the following day and has missed eight games in which Los Angeles have tallied a disappointing 3-5 record.

But James is progressing in his return and has now been cleared to "increase on-court functional basketball movements", the team announced after he was assessed by medical staff.

The former Cleveland Cavaliers forward, who is averaging 27.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.1 assists in 34.6 minutes per game this season, is set to be evaluated again next Wednesday.

The Lakers signed James to a four-year $153.3million contract in July. Los Angeles (23-19) next face the Utah Jazz on the road on Friday.

 

The Milwaukee Bucks managed to overcome a big performance from James Harden to top the Houston Rockets 116-109 in the NBA. 

'Space Jam 2' director Terence Nance promised the highly anticipated movie featuring Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James will "disrupt everything".

James is following in the footsteps of Michael Jordan in more ways than one as he prepares to bring 'Space Jam' back to the big screen, with the NBA great set to star in the sequel.

Hall of Famer and Chicago Bulls great Jordan, who won six NBA titles and six Finals MVP awards, starred in the 1996 original.

With 'Space Jam 2' having been confirmed in September, Nance told VICE: "Pretty sure [it's] going to disrupt everything.

"I'm excited about what [...] that movie can be."

James – a three-time NBA champion and four-time MVP – is no stranger to Hollywood, having featured in Amy Schumer's 2015 romantic comedy 'Trainwreck'.

The former Cleveland Cavaliers star also has a new HBO series, 'The Shop' – an unscripted barbershop-set talk show.

"Space Jam is a very unique opportunity because LeBron James is the best basketball player on Earth and a once-in-a-generation performer," Nance said.

"Whoever the greatest basketball player of the next generation is going to be, they are probably not going to also be a great actor."

James is sidelined with a groin injury sustained in the Lakers' win over the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day.

LeBron James remains sidelined with a groin injury and will be re-evaluated on Friday, said Los Angeles Lakers head coach Luke Walton.

The NBA is headed back to China for a pair of preseason games between the Los Angeles Lakers and Brooklyn Nets.

Los Angeles and Brooklyn will travel to China ahead of the 2019-20 NBA season, the league announced on Monday.

The Lakers and Nets will play in Shanghai on October 10 and then again in Shenzhen two days later.

With the visit, Lakers forward Lance Stephenson would boast the most games logged in China by any NBA player after previously representing the Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers and New Orleans Pelicans.

Similarly, the trip would be the third for Lakers star LeBron James, who played in China in 2007 with the Cleveland Cavaliers and 2013 with the Miami Heat.

In total, 17 teams have played 26 games in China and Taiwan dating back to 2004.

With veteran duo LeBron James and Rajon Rondo out injured, Luke Walton has urged other Los Angeles Lakers players to fill the leadership void.

The Lakers went down 119-112 to the New York Knicks at Staples Center on Friday, their fourth loss in five matches since James sustained a groin strain against the Golden State Warriors.

James will miss the Lakers' next two games and be reassessed next week, while Rondo is not expected to be back until February after having surgery on his finger.

After seeing his team surrender a six-point advantage in the fourth quarter against the Knicks, Walton wants to see greater maturity from his young core.

"It's got to come from the group. We know we have some of the best leaders in the game. We've got LeBron, Rondo and Tyson [Chandler], but they're hurt so it's up to other people to step up and lead," said Walton.

"Guys are doing it, we just have to do more of it. It's great when things are going well. The challenge is when we hit dry spells or other teams get hot, that's when it starts getting quiet.

"That's when we need it the most. That's when we need five guys huddling up on the court talking about what happened on the last play, what's going to happen on the next play. Being in the moment of playing.

"That's something that normally comes with age. We're playing a lot of young guys right now, but that's where we're at and we trust and we believe that the guys playing can win. We just have to do it."

Walton felt the Lakers broke away from a team ethic as they came under pressure in the fourth quarter, with too many individuals attempting solo plays.

"Until we accept that the team is the most important thing – and I can't tell if it's because we're missing open shots and layups if you will that we stop trusting each other," he said.

"But the ball was moving beautifully when we built up our lead then we got to the fourth and we had a couple possessions of nice ball movement and then when shots didn't go in, guys start trying to do it on their own and that's not a recipe for us to win.

"For what we're playing with and the amount of injuries we have to guys who are a huge part of what we do, we've got to play for one another, the guys that are out there on the court. It cost us again in the fourth quarter. A little frustrating, but no one's feeling sorry for us."

JaVale McGee was one of the Lakers' other veterans on the court and the towering centre acknowledged leadership responsibilities must be picked up elsewhere with big names out of commission.

"We've got to step up. Everybody, as a team. We've got to step up, there's no excuse. We are professionals, we know how to play basketball, so we just got to come together and step up," said McGee.

LeBron James remains sidelined and will not travel with the Los Angeles Lakers on their two-game trip to face the Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Mavericks.

James has been out since suffering a strained left groin on Christmas Day against the Golden State Warriors.

The 34-year-old picked up the injury midway through the third quarter of the Lakers' over the Warriors, and underwent an MRI scan the following day.

He has missed the last four Lakers matches as a result, and will be absent for Friday's clash with the New York Knicks as well as their upcoming away trips.

"[James] is receiving daily treatment by the team's training and medical staff and continues to progress with his recovery," the Lakers said in a statement.

"He will not travel on the team's upcoming two-game road trip and will be re-evaluated in one week."

Even if he is deemed healthy in a week and is able to play on January 11 against the Utah Jazz, he will have missed eight games.

The Lakers then face James' former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, at home on January 13.

Los Angeles signed James to a four-year, $153.3million contract in June. He is averaging 27.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.1 assists in 34.6 minutes per game this season.

 

Danny Ainge wonders about the motive behind LeBron James' recent "greatest of all time" comments and has suggested he is "taking the Donald Trump approach".

The Boston Celtics general manager appeared on The Toucher And Rich Show on Thursday and he offered his thoughts on James' declaration that he was the 'GOAT'.

James called himself the greatest of all time when discussing the Cleveland Cavaliers' 2016 performance in the NBA Finals. Cleveland were down 3-1 in the series against the Golden State Warriors but the Cavs rallied to win the title.

"His career's not over," Ainge said. "I'd just like to [know] why he's saying that? I don't know. Maybe he thinks that that sells. Maybe he's taking the Donald Trump approach and trying to sell himself. I don't know."

Ainge added: "Obviously LeBron is in every conversation with who is the greatest player of all time.

"But time will tell. I don't know if anyone knows who the greatest of all time is, because the years are so different."

One thing James' declaration did was further fuel the Michael Jordan comparisons, which have been going on for years.

Despite the Trump comparisons, Ainge did offer an olive branch of sorts — he said James is better than Larry Bird, who is Ainge's former Celtics team-mate.

"LeBron went to the Finals," Ainge said. "I would have to say [he is better than Bird], just because he was able to have more durability and play at a top level of his game for longer."

LeBron James recently came defeating the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 finals cemented his place as the Greatest of All Time.  Michael Jordon doesn't believe the crown can be fitted on the head of any one player that easily.

LeBron James took his first step toward returning from injury though the Los Angeles Lakers superstar is still considered "day-to-day", according to head coach Luke Walton.

James has been sidelined since straining his groin against NBA champions the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day.

The 34-year-old, however, was shooting in the gym during practice on Tuesday.

"He's working on his body, his game, himself all the time," Walton said.

"But that's the first time I've seen him shoot [since the injury]."

James originally suffered the injury midway through the third quarter of the Lakers' win over the Warriors last month.

The three-time NBA champion met with trainers on the court, and appeared to tell them he "felt it pop" and then headed to the locker room without assistance.

James underwent an MRI the following day and said on Twitter he "dodged a bullet". The Lakers, however, were reportedly preparing to be without him for "several games".

Los Angeles inked James to a four-year, $153.3million contract this off-season. He is averaging 27.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.1 assists in 34.6 minutes per game this campaign.

The Lakers (21-16) have lost two of three games with James sidelined. They will host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.

 

LeBron James said leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to their maiden NBA championship in 2015-16 made him the "greatest player of all time".

James has been named the NBA MVP four times, won three championships and made 14 All-Star teams during his illustrious 16-year career in the league.

But James – who signed a four-year, $154.4million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers in the off-season – said guiding the Cavaliers past the Golden State Warriors in 2016 is what cemented his legacy.

The Warriors registered an NBA-record 73-9 regular-season record that season and cruised to the Finals. However, the James-inspired Cavaliers upstaged Golden State in seven games

"That one right there made me the greatest player of all time," James said during an appearance on the ESPN+ series 'More Than An Athlete'.

"I was super, super ecstatic to win one for Cleveland because of the 52-year drought. ... The first wave of emotion was when everyone saw me crying, like, that was all for 52 years of everything in sports that's gone on in Cleveland. And then after I stopped I was like — that one right there made you the greatest player of all time."

The 34-year-old James added: "Everybody was just talking — how [the Warriors] were the greatest team of all time, like it was the greatest team ever assembled.

"And for us to come back, you know, the way we came back in that fashion I was like, 'You did, you did something special."

"That's probably one of the only times in my career I felt like, oh s***, like you did something special," James continued. "I haven't had, really had time, to really, like, sit back and think but that...that was a moment."

James is averaging 27.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.1 assists in 34.6 minutes per game during his first season with Los Angeles.

He is shooting 51.8 per cent from the field and 35.6 percent from three-point range.  

James has not played since he strained his groin in the Lakers' win over the Warriors last week. He is considered day-to-day.

LeBron James and Tiger Woods each had reason to celebrate on Sunday.

Two of the sporting world's biggest stars share a birthday on December 30, Lakers star James turning 34 with 14-time major champion Woods 11 years older.

But what will the duo be wishing for when they cut their respective cakes?

Here we look at what should be on their wishlists for the next year.

 

LeBron James

An end to the MVP wait

It is remarkable given his consistently incredible play that James has not won an NBA MVP award since 2013. That speaks volumes about the amount of superstars in the league, with Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook and James Harden all having won the award since LeBron last did. He may only be fifth in points per game this season but, if James inspires a young Lakers team to one of the top seeds in the Western Conference, he will have an extremely good case to win his fourth MVP prize.

A superstar running mate

Though they have an exciting young core comprised of the likes of Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma, the Lakers lack the firepower to be true contenders in the West and James would surely dearly love to find a superstar running mate to attack the Golden State Warriors with next season. Current Warrior Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard are both set for free agency in 2019, while Anthony Davis could be the target of a blockbuster trade.

A Larry O'Brien trophy

LeBron cemented his legacy in Cleveland by leading them back from a 3-1 Finals deficit to the Warriors to win the 2016 NBA title, and would do the same in Los Angeles by bringing the Larry O'Brien trophy back to one of the league's most storied franchises. It seems unlikely that James will be able to achieve that feat in 2019, but he has pulled off the seemingly impossible before.


Tiger Woods

An injury-free year

With his well-documented back problems seemingly behind him, Woods steadily improved in 2018 but will be wary of taking anything for granted having endured years in the wilderness with his physical struggles. Staying fit must be top of Woods' wishlist for his 44th year.

A 15th major

Woods was twice in contention to end his long wait for a 15th major in 2018 but failed to get over the line at The Open and the US PGA Championship. Time is running out for Woods to break Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 majors but, after a 2018 that delivered plenty of promise, he can afford to have hope of cutting the gap in 2019.

A number one ranking

Woods last topped the world rankings in May 2014. Now ranked 13th, a return to the summit appears an ambitious target given the queue of younger and more consistent golfers ahead of him. Yet if Woods does stay healthy and starts stringing performances together, it is not out of the question he could find himself at the top of the game once more.

Lonzo Ball called for unity after the Los Angeles Lakers suffered an ugly defeat to city rivals the Clippers, losing a second straight game without the injured LeBron James.

The Lakers (20-16), who were also without Rajon Rondo and JaVale McGee, led by 10 in the third quarter, but saw that lead evaporate in a 118-107 defeat which resulted in boos from frustrated home fans.

That collapse included a run of 22 unanswered points for the Clippers (21-14), matching the longest in the NBA this season, despite the presence of James, Rondo and McGee on the sidelines.

"They were trying to talk to us in the best way they could, but it's not the same as them being out there," Ball, who had 19 points, told reporters of the vocal veterans.
 
"Guys were getting frustrated. Anytime a team goes on a 22-0 run, it's not going to be all fine and dandy. 

"We have got to regroup. We can't argue with each other. We're on the same team. So, we just got to step up and accept the roles that we're coming into right now."

The Lakers have lost five of their last seven games, the same run they had to start the season which led to pressure on head coach Luke Walton.

"We went on a win streak last time," said Ball. "We've got to go on another one this time."

Walton acknowledged his team's harmony needed work, adding: "I felt like we kind of started to splinter a little bit while it [the 22-0 run] was happening.

"That can't happen. We can lose games, but we'll lose them together. When we win them, we'll win them together. No matter what's happening on the court, we have to stay together and keep working and figure it out.

"I know we can get through it. I know it's not going to be easy, but I believe in the guys that we have. We've just got to do a couple of things a little bit better.

"We're playing five 20-year-olds. Being a vet in this league, this being a man's league, you see young guys [and] you go after them physically. We talked about it after the game. That's going to happen. It's going to happen again each and every night we step out, until we're ready to fight back."

Kyle Kuzma, who echoed Ball and Walton's demand for togetherness, top-scored for the Lakers with 24, but it was the Clippers' Lou Williams who made the difference with 36 off the bench.

The Los Angeles Lakers insist they will not rush LeBron James back from a groin injury after losing their first outing without him on Thursday.

James was hurt during the Lakers' Christmas Day victory over the Golden State Warriors and no timetable has been set for his return to action.

Without the four-time MVP, who saw his consecutive games streak end at 156, the team slipped to a 117-116 defeat away to the Sacramento Kings, despite leading by as many as 15 points during the fourth quarter.

Bogdan Bogdanovic sealed victory for the Kings with a three-pointer at the buzzer, leaving Lakers head coach Luke Walton to lament the absence of the "best closer" in the NBA.

"This is the first close game we've been in that he's not there," Walton said.

"If LeBron James is playing in that game it probably finishes a little differently. When you get the best closer in the game on your team, then you rely on him to do that. All that said, we made enough plays to win."

However, Walton had confirmed before the game that the Lakers are taking a cautious approach over James' comeback to the court.

The 33-year-old underwent an MRI on December 26 which confirmed a strained left groin, rather than a muscle tear.

"It's one of those things we want to make sure he's healthy before we get him back out there," Walton said.

"That could be an injury where if you come back too early you re-injure it and then you're out longer. We'll be careful and cautious when he starts playing again."

Kyle Kuzma led the way for the LeBron-less Lakers with 33 points in Sacramento, while Lonzo Ball contributed 20 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds in a losing cause.

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