LeBron James' immediate future with the Los Angeles Lakers is in no doubt, so says the superstar's agent.

There had been speculation that James, 39, could leave the Lakers ahead of next week's trade deadline.

But his agent Rich Paul insisted that those rumours are wide of the mark.

"LeBron won't be traded, and we aren't asking to be," Paul told ESPN.

James missed the Lakers' win over the Boston Celtics on Thursday due to injury. He posted an hourglass emoji on social media following a loss to the Atlanta Hawks, which only increased the speculation over his future.

The four-time NBA champion has a $51.4 million player option in his Lakers contract for next season.

LeBron James is unable to explain the Los Angeles Lakers' inconsistent form after his side went down 138-122 to the Atlanta Hawks.

The Lakers have followed up wins over the Chicago Bulls and the Golden State Warriors with losses to the Houston Rockets and now the Hawks.

With a record of 24-25, the Lakers find themselves ninth in the Western Conference ahead of facing the Boston Celtics on Thursday.

LeBron posted an underwhelming 20 points, nine rebounds and eight assists at State Farm Arena on Tuesday as his side fell to a fourth defeat in seven.

"We could, on any given night, beat any team in the NBA," he told reporters. "Then on any given night, we can get our a** kicked by any team.

"That's just the [facts]. What's our record? Under .500? What, 24-25? That's where we are."

The Lakers now have to lift themselves for their trip to the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Celtics, before then facing the New York Knicks.

James is hoping to hit back in those games and regain some momentum after quickfire double-digit defeats.

"When I'm healthy enough to play, I just try to perform at a high level," he said. "I want to help my team-mates do great things out there.

"Win, lose or draw, I want to be satisfied with the way I approach the game."

Trae Young starred for the Hawks with 26 points, which included knocking down his first six attempts from the 3-point range.

De'Andre Hunter added six points in his 16 minutes on the court as he made his comeback after six weeks out, missing 19 games in total.

Atlanta are now 20-27 for the season and face the Phoenix Suns next up as they search for a third-straight win.

"Any team can do it one night or two nights in row," Young said. "We've just got be consistent with it.

"Hopefully we can string together some wins that propel us forward to where we want to go and need to be."

LeBron James is looking forward to talking about his thrilling matchups against Stephen Curry with his grandchildren.

That is how much James relishes going up against the Golden State Warriors star, as the duo served up another wonderful instalment of their long-running rivalry on Saturday.

James and the Los Angeles Lakers came out on top, edging out the Warriors 145-144 in double overtime.

Curry led the game with 46 points, with 15 of those coming across the two OT periods, but James inspired the Lakers with a triple-double of 36 points, 12 assists and a career-best 20 rebounds.

"It's something I'll be able to talk about with my grandkids," James said.

"When you talk about me being able to compete versus one of the greatest players to ever play the game.

"It's been a treat to go against one of the greatest to ever play this game.

"For us to continue to push each other at the state of our careers, you don't take it for granted because you don't know how many times you're actually going to get the moment to actually be on the same floor with such a talent."

James and Curry dominated four successive NBA Finals, and the pair, who have eight championship rings between them, rekindled that fire in magnificent fashion.

However, neither team have been enjoying their best campaigns. The Lakers are ninth in the Western Conference with a 24-23 record, three places ahead of the 19-24 Warriors.

"Every year that we get to do this and go back and forth, the battles, the Finals runs, the playoff battles last year, after the horn sounded tonight there was a little laugh of, I can't imagine a scenario where a game like tonight happens, [with] him in Season 21 and me in Year 15," Curry said.

"You look forward to the battles, but you also appreciate the mutual respect of what it takes to keep doing what you're doing at this level. Only a few people know how hard it is. I'm happy to be in that group."

Klay Thompson, who scored 24 points for the Warriors, is simply happy to have played alongside, and against, two of the NBA's greatest.

"Credit to LeBron for what he's doing at his age. I mean, that guy is a freak of nature in terms of his ability to play at this level for so long. Same with Steph," Thompson said.

"When you're younger, you don't ever really think that basketball will stop because it's what you love. It's all you do.

"But when you get to your thirties, you realise there's an end point to being an athlete. Knowing that, I am very grateful to step on the floor with those guys and play against LeBron."

LeBron James is in his 21st NBA season, and still accomplishing things he's never done before.

James had a career-high 20 rebounds as part of a triple-double and hit two late free throws in the second overtime to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 145-144 road win over the Golden State Warriors in an epic showdown with Stephen Curry on Saturday.

James also had 36 points and 12 assists as part of his 110th career triple-double while playing a season-high 48 minutes.

He became the first Laker to have at least 35 points, 20 rebounds and 10 assists in a game in the last 40 seasons.

 Curry scored 10 of his season-high 46 points in the second overtime, and put the Warriors up 144-143 on his season-best ninth 3-pointer with 4.7 seconds to play.

On the Lakers ensuing possession, James drove the lane and drew a foul with 1.2 seconds remaining. He hit both free throws to put Los Angeles up by one point and Curry then missed a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer.

D'Angelo Russell finished with 28 points, and hit a key 3-pointer late in regulation and another clutch 3-pointer with 52 seconds remaining in the second overtime.

Anthony Davis exited for a bit in the third quarter due to a hip spasm but returned to finish with 29 points and 13 rebounds for Los Angeles (24-23), which trailed by as much as 15 points.

The Warriors (19-24) lost for the fourth time in five games despite scoring a season high in points and making a season-best 23 3-pointers.

Klay Thompson drained a tying 3 with 5.9 seconds to play in the first extra period and then hit another with 1:53 to play in the second, but he ended up fouling out 39 seconds later. He finished with 24 points and made six 3-pointers.


Clippers roll in Boston for fifth straight win

One month ago, the Boston Celtics trounced the Clippers in Los Angeles.

The Clippers returned the favour.

Los Angeles led by as much as 36 en route to a 115-96 victory over the NBA-best Celtics in Boston.

The Pacific Division-leading Clippers (30-14) rode a 21-0 run in the third quarter to avenge a 37-point home loss to the Celtics on December 23. The Clippers have won five in a row with all victories coming by double digits.

Kawhi Leonard had a game-high 26 points, while Paul George added 17 points in just 22 minutes for Los Angeles, which scored 64 points in the paint.

With the outcome in little doubt, both teams emptied their bench for the fourth quarter.

The Celtics (35-11) were opening a season-high seven-game home-stand, but came out sluggish, scoring a season-low 21 first-quarter points.

Jayson Tatum was the only Celtic starter in double figures, scoring 21 while the other four Boston starters combined for 17 points on 5-of-37 shooting (13.5 per cent).

It marked the second straight home loss for the Celtics, who opened the season 20-0 in Boston.


 Knicks win sixth in row but Randle injured

The New York Knicks' latest win may have come at a cost.

The Knicks extended their winning streak to six games with a 125-109 victory over the Miami Heat, but Julius Randle injured his shoulder late in the fourth quarter.

Randle exited with 4:27 to play after appearing to land hard on his right shoulder after colliding with the Heat's Jaime Jaquez Jr. He was reportedly diagnosed with a dislocated shoulder, and it's uncertain how long he'll be sidelined.

 Jalen Brunson led New York with 32 points and eight assists, and Randle had 19 points and nine rebounds before getting hurt. OG Anunoby also scored 19 for the Knicks (29-17), who improved to 12-2 since the calendar flipped to 2024.

Things have not been going nearly as well for the Heat (24-22), who have lost a season-high six straight games.

Jimmy Butler had 28 points and eight assists for Miami, which is still atop the Southeast Division despite its recent slide.

LeBron James is "humbled" by the support he has received as he credited his fans after being voted as an All-Star for a record 20th time.

James, who scored 25 points and added 12 assists as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Chicago Bulls 141-132 on Thursday, has now surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's tally of 19 All-Star nominations.

The 39-year-old will captain the West, and start alongside Kevin Durant, Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo will captain the East on his eighth All-Star selection. 

Reigning MVP Joel Embiid is set for his seventh All-Star appearance, with Jayson Tatum, Damian Lillard and Tyrese Hailburton completing the East's lineup.

"I give credit and a lot of respect to my fans who have been along with me through this whole 21-year journey," James said.

"And voting me in as an All-Star starter for the 20th-consecutive time, just very humbled.

"Very blessed to be able to do what I love to do and just try to give back, give back to the game that's given me over two decades.

"So, to be able to know this is the first time ever in NBA history to have this many All-Star starts or whatever the case might be, it's very cool.

"I've exceeded anything that I ever dreamed about being in the NBA. And I did that a long time ago. Everything else is just kind of extra credit. I'm very humbled by still being able to play the game I love and have these accomplishments along the way."

Lakers coach Darvin Ham joked that James was a "victim of his own success".

Ham said: "Kudos to him, man. He's a victim of his own work and success. It's crazy.

"I was thinking about this to myself, like, 'Damn, he'll never have an All-Star Weekend to himself just not to have any obligations.'

"And do that for 21 years, oof. But that's his work. He put that work in. He's maintained that consistency, that durability. And I'm happy for him."

James is averaging 24.8 points per game across 41 appearances for the Lakers this season, while also contributing 7.5 assists and 7.1 rebounds.

The 73rd NBA All-Star weekend will take place in Indianapolis between February 16 and 18.

LeBron James has added yet another superlative to his legendary career resume.

On Thursday, the NBA unveiled the starters for the 2024 All-Star Game, with James voted an All-Star for a record 20th time. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar previously held the record with 19 selections.

With the Feb. 18 All-Star Game reverting to its traditional East vs. West format, James will be the West captain and will start alongside Kevin Durant (14th selection), Nikola Jokic (sixth), Luka Doncic (fifth) and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (second).

Giannis Antetokounmpo (eighth selection) will serve as the captain of the East team and will start alongside Milwaukee Bucks teammate Damian Lillard (eighth), Joel Embiid (seventh), Jayson Tatum (fifth) and Tyrese Haliburton (second).

Starters were selected by a combination vote, with 50 percent weight given to fans, 25 percent to selected media members and 25 percent to fellow players.

New to this season’s voting was the elimination of the center position designation, with the ballot shifting to three frontcourt spots and two backcourt spots in each conference.

The reserves are voted on by the league’s head coaches and will be announced on Feb. 1.

The 73rd NBA All-Star Game will be played in Indianapolis.

Draymond Green's disciplinary issues this season have played a part in him missing out on selection for the Paris Olympics, so says Team USA chief Grant Hill.

Green, a two-time Olympic gold medallist, has not made the 41-man list, which was unveiled on Tuesday.

LeBron James, Stephen Curry and reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid all featured on the list, which will be whittled down to a 12-man roster ahead of the Olympics, which take place in July and August in the French capital.

But Golden State Warriors power forward Green, who helped Team USA triumph in 2016 and 2021, will not feature at another Games, with executive director Hill claiming the two suspensions the NBA has handed the 33-year-old's way in recent months have swayed that decision.

Having served a five-game suspension in November for grappling with Rudy Gobert, Green then missed a further 12 games after striking the head of Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkic.

"His contributions have been significant, and he is a real part of the legacy of this organisation for his excellence," Hill said of Green.

"But I think just in lieu of sort of what's transpired this year, we made a decision to not have [Green] on this list with this particular point in time with the process."

Warriors coach Steve Kerr is set to take charge of Team USA at the Paris Games.

Kawhi Leonard claimed there is a "different dynamic" to the Los Angeles Lakers when LeBron James is out.

Leonard recorded a triple-double of 25 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, while James Harden had 23 points and 10 assists, as the Los Angeles Clippers defeated a Lakers team shorn of superstar James 127-116 on Tuesday.

James was out with an ankle issue, with the Lakers treating his recovery on a day-to-day basis.

While the Clippers have won 11 of their last 13 games, the Lakers have now lost four road wins on the spin.

Leonard suggested there was a noticeable difference to the Lakers, not that players did not step up in James' absence. D'Angelo Russell led the Lakers with 27 points and Anthony Davis had 26.

"It's a different dynamic with him not being out there," Leonard said.

"You saw guys came in and stepped up and made big shots for him."

Reflecting on the Clippers' display, Leonard added: "Everybody contributed to the win. That's what we've got to do, knock down shots when they're open and tonight we did."

Despite a win that has taken the Clippers, who are fourth in the Western Conference, to a 28-14 winning record, coach Tyronn Lue said there is still plenty to improve on.

"Just overall, [we] didn't play a good mental game and we didn't do a good job with our coverages, especially defensively," Lue said.

"We were all over the place. We've just got to continue to keep getting better."

Leonard added: "They're a good transition team and we allowed them to play to their strengths. We just got to be better at that."

Lakers boss Darvin Ham, meanwhile, took positives from the defeat.

He said: "Like I told them just now, a lot of good things we did during this game.

"Our guys competed, competed their butts off. The [Clippers are] going to make you pay [for mistakes], that's how they're built.

"They are in a really good rhythm. But that said, I think the lesson tonight is how we competed, how we competed together. Again, guys taking accountability for mistakes and not making them twice.

"Trying to get better defensively as the game was ticking away. Disappointed in the loss but proud of how our guys competed minus LeBron."

On LeBron's status, Ham added: "Just trying to be proactive with his ankle. He'll probably be day-to-day. But that's pretty much it."

LeBron James quipped that Anthony Davis was learning from him after the latter turned in a star showing against the Dallas Mavericks.

Though James did have other things on his mind as he spoke to the media in the wake of the Los Angeles Lakers' 127-110 victory on Tuesday.

While D'Angelo Russell led the Lakers with 29 points, and James chipped in with 25 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, it was Davis who stole the show.

Davis finished with 28 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists as he fell just short of his second triple-double in the space of three games.

Asked about Davis in the locker room after the game, James said with a smile: "He's learning from me how to pass out of the post.

"He's been working on it and it’s great. Teams are going to stop doubling him soon.

"As long as we make shots out there for him. It's our job to make sure we are in the right position at the right time when he gets doubled."

James was not wholly focused on answering the media's questions, however, as he was simultaneously keeping an eye on how his son Bronny was getting on in the USC Trojans' matchup against the Arizona Wildcats.

USC ultimately lost 82-67, with James shouting "Shoot it!" several times through his media huddle.

While the Lakers have now won six of their last four games, the Mavs have lost three of their last five, with Luka Doncic's triple-double on his return from injury not enough against Los Angeles.

Doncic finished with 33 points but was only 2-for-9 when it came to 3-pointers.

"First game back was tough with the legs. I thought a lot of 3s were going in and they didn't," he said.

Mavericks coach Jason Kidd added: "We generated a lot of wide-open looks and they didn't drop for us.

"They made it a point to have pace and took advantage of the misses. When you miss open shots against a team like that, they are going to make you pay."

For Lakers coach Darvin Ham, it is now a case of his team being able to replicate the urgency they showed at both ends of the court, starting against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday.

"Usually when you play good defense, it triggers good offense," Ham said.

"Everyone was having that sense of urgency to be in attack mode. We have to bottle it up and continue to work at it and sustain what we do well."

Anthony Davis said the Los Angeles Lakers could not use LeBron James' injury-enforced absence as an excuse after the 39-year-old missed Saturday's 132-125 defeat to the Utah Jazz.

James rolled his left ankle during the first half of the Lakers' 127-109 loss to the Phoenix Suns on Thursday, staying in that contest but scoring a season-low 10 points in just 24 minutes on the court.

The NBA's all-time leading scorer was then absent as Los Angeles suffered their sixth defeat in eight games on Saturday, with D'Angelo Russell's season-high 39 points not enough in Salt Lake City.

Davis had a triple-double with 15 points, 15 boards and 10 assists but shot five of 21 from the field as the Lakers dropped to 19-21 for the season. 

While the 30-year-old pointed to the injury problems which have hampered Los Angeles throughout the campaign, he feels they have enough talent on the roster to win games without their stars. 

"We're not in a bad spot," Davis said. "It could be worse. Our injuries just piled up over and over. 

"As soon as we think we get a couple of guys back, guys go down. So, that's the toughest thing but we still have enough to win basketball games. 

"Even though Bron doesn't play, we have enough to win. We've just got to keep going. We've played 40 games, 42 left. We got to make a push. 

"These next five or six games at home are going to be a big stretch of games for us."

The Lakers, who sit 11th in the Western Conference standings, welcome the Oklahoma City Thunder, Dallas Mavericks, Brooklyn Nets, Portland Trail Blazers, Los Angeles Clippers and Chicago Bulls to Crypto.com Arena in the next 11 days.

Domantas Sabonis notched his ninth triple-double of the season with 37 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds to lead the Sacramento Kings to a 131-110 win over the lowly Detroit Pistons.

Sabonis shot 16 of 21 from the field, made his only 3-point attempt and was 4 of 4 from the free throw line. He moves within two triple-doubles of Denver’s Nikola Jokic for the league lead.

Keegan Murray scored 32 points on 13-of-17 shooting and De’Aaron Fox added 26 for the Kings, winners of five of seven.

Bojan Bogdanovic led Detroit with 26 points as the Pistons dropped their fifth in a row since ending their NBA-record 28-game losing streak.

Sacramento trailed by 20 points in the first quarter, led by 15 in the third, were tied in the fourth and then pulled away with a 9-0 run in the fourth.

Anunoby helps Knicks stay hot

OG Anunoby scored 23 points and Julius Randle added 20 with eight assists and seven rebounds as the New York Knicks won their fifth in a row, 112-84 over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Anunoby scored 16 points in the first quarter to help the Knicks open a 19-point lead. He shot 6 of 7 from the floor – 4 of 5 from 3-point range – and might have approached his season high of 29 points but the starters played sparingly in the second half.

New York is unbeaten since acquiring Anunoby from Toronto on Dec. 30.

Quentin Grimes had 17 points and Miles McBride had 16 as the Knicks moved a half-game ahead of Miami, Orlando, Indiana and Cleveland for fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

Davis shines in Lakers’ win

Anthony Davis scored 20 of his season-high 41 points in the fourth quarter and the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Toronto Raptors, 132-131.

Davis was 13 of 17 from the field and 13 of 14 from the free throw line while adding 11 rebounds and six assists. He made all eight free throw attempts in the final minute as the Lakers held on despite late 3-pointers by Toronto’s Dennis Schröder and Gary Trent Jr.

LeBron James had 22 points and 12 assists to help the Lakers win their second straight after a four-game skid.

Scottie Barnes scored 26 points and RJ Barrett added 23 with 10 rebounds for the Raptors, who had won three of four.


LeBron James urged the Los Angeles Lakers to use their victory over the Los Angeles Clippers as a "catapult" towards an upturn in underwhelming NBA form.

The Lakers snapped a four-game losing streak with a 106-103 triumph over their Los Angeles neighbours on Sunday.

LeBron's Los Angeles were just 3-10 since winning the in-season tournament, with Sunday's win a much-needed victory to somewhat ease a 13-game struggle.

"Try to use this to try to catapult a little bit better play from us," LeBron said after leading the game with 25 points against the Clippers.

"But it still doesn't take away from the fact of how we've been playing like the last 11, 12 games.

"Tonight was a good start. Hopefully we can start from here and continue to build."

Lakers coach Darvin Ham benefitted from having an increasing number of rotation options, with the fit-again D'Angelo Russell managing 13 points and six assists, while Jarred Vanderbilt impressed in defense.

Christian Wood also added nine points, 10 rebounds and two blocks, along with Max Christie's seven points, three rebounds and two blocks, as the Lakers' bench outshone the Clippers.

"All those guys helped us win, made some big shots, timely plays, and that's what we need," said Anthony Davis, who had 22 points and 10 rebounds.

"It takes 'the others' to win championships and win basketball games. And these guys played phenomenal tonight. When these guys are playing well, it just makes me and Bron's job a lot easier."

Ham labelled the performance as a benchmark for the remainder of the season.

"Everybody contributed, competed at a very high level," Ham added. "And I'm proud of them.

"Now the cat's out the bag for this one, in terms of how we need to approach each and every game and everybody do it as a committee."

LeBron James delivered an honest assessment of the Los Angeles Lakers' play after the team's slump continued with another loss, this time against the Memphis Grizzlies.

The Lakers suffered a 127-113 home loss on Friday despite 32 points from LeBron, 31 from Anthony Davis and 19 from Austin Reaves, who added a career-high 12 assists.

Los Angeles has lost four straight games and been beaten in 10 of their last 13, struggling badly since lifting the NBA Cup in Las Vegas.

Coach Darvin Ham had insisted ahead of the game that he continues to have the support of the franchise despite speculation over his job status with his team sitting below .500.

With their record now at 17-19 and the Lakers now 11th in the Western Conference, LeBron did not hold back.

"I mean, we just suck right now," James said after the game.

James felt too much weight has been given to the Lakers' triumph in the in-season tournament.

"That was just two games," James said. "It's a small sample. 

"Everyone is getting so cracked up about Vegas and keep bringing up Vegas. It was two games. We took care of that business. 

"It was the in-season tournament, we played it, we won it. But that was literally just two games."

Memphis was last in the league for 3-point shooting percentage going into the game, but the Lakers gave up a season-high 23 from deep.

"They're NBA players," added LeBron. "They work on their craft, too. 

"It seems to happen a lot versus us, where the percentages go the other way. We had our game plan and how we wanted to execute that, and I thought we did that as well as we could. They made us pay."

Ham is growing frustrated about the huge focus placed on every Lakers result.

"I'm tired of people living and dying with every single game we play," Ham said. "It's ludicrous, actually. It's like, come on, man, this is a marathon. And we hit a tough stretch. 

"It's the same team. We played some high-level games a little while ago, and we just got to get back to that.

"We got to keep the fight going. We cannot lose our fight. This is the NBA. This is a marathon and you have to look at the totality of the picture."

Davis, meanwhile, understood the scrutiny that would come with their current losses.

"Wearing this uniform, you get a lot of flack, and guys are watching you under a microscope as a team," he said.

"You have a couple of bad games, lose a couple in a row, you can't lose your confidence. Can't be on social media, listening to whatever people are saying. 

"We've got to stay together in this locker room and find our way out of it. There's no help coming. There's no cavalry. We've got to do it with the guys we've got and remain together.

"We still have a lot of basketball left. But we're trending in the wrong direction right now. And the last thing we need, especially when guys are out, is to separate and fall apart. 

"So we got to stay together, for sure, and figure it out. We can't be in our feelings. We can't be complaining or whatever. We can't take anything personal.

"We have to look individually, myself, everyone in the locker room, the coaching staff, look at ourselves in the mirror and figure out what we can do individually better to help the team be better. And I think then we can come out and flip things around."

The Grizzlies improved to 12-23 after Jaren Jackson Jr. scored 31 points and Marcus Smart added 29 points with a season-high eight 3-pointers.

"It was good, because obviously we haven't won here in a while, said Ja Morant," who had 21 points for Memphis. 

"It's the team that knocked us out of the playoffs. Obviously, we're not where we want to be right now during the season, so this was a big-time win for us. We can carry the momentum from this game."

The Grizzlies are on the road against the Phoenix Suns on Sunday, while pressure is on the Lakers as they take on city rivals the Los Angeles Clippers.

Anthony Davis told the Los Angeles Lakers their season could "go south" quickly without immediate improvement after their latest loss to the Miami Heat.

The Lakers are 2-8 in their last 10 games after the Heat won 110-96 at Crypto.com Arena on Wednesday, led by Tyler Herro scoring 21 points as all eight Miami players hit double figures.

After a tough December, this was the first game of a run that will see LA play 11 of its next 12 at home but it did not provide an immediate reversal of fortunes.

The Lakers are now 17-18 on the season and have suffered a dramatic dip to No. 10 in the Western Conference standings since winning the NBA Cup.

Another home game against the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday will give them a chance to bounce back.

"We just got to compete, play hard and go out with a mindset of a must-win mentality, and hopefully that can propel us over to get back to .500 on Friday and then kind of put a streak together at home," Davis said, per ESPN. 

"I mean, we have been a really good home team thus far, and we got an opportunity to continue to build on that. But if we play how we played tonight, then it's going to go south for us really bad.

"It is a little bit of everything right now and if we keep on this trend, it’s not going to be good for us. It is kind of obvious that we have got to figure it out sooner than later.

"They threw a zone in, and they just dared us to make shots, and we didn't. Kind of took us out of our thing, but 10 turnovers in the first quarter was kind of a recipe for disaster."

Davis had a game-high 29 points as well as 17 rebounds and five blocks, but also had a team-high five turnovers. 

Austin Reaves had 24 points and eight assists in the losing effort, while LeBron James was restricted to a season-low 12 points.

"We're losing and anytime you lose, the vibe should be off, you know?" Reaves said about the low mood in the Lakers' locker room.

"If I went in and the vibe wasn't off after the rough stretch that we've had, then I'd be concerned. That's really it. I don't expect for us to be happy with how we've played. So, until we figure that out, you know, the vibe should be off. 

"We got to win games. When I say the vibe is off, it's not like we don't like each other. It's we're losing. But I don't want to get that twisted on us not liking each other. Everybody in the locker room gets along."

Miami won despite being without Jimmy Buttler, but the Lakers have also contended with injuries over recent weeks and had Rui Hachimura and D'Angelo Russell missing for this one.

Coach Darvin Ham feels constant changes to his lineup have played a major role in the team’s struggles, but also told his players they must perform better to end the slump.

"No stone shall go unturned and we are here to explore whatever we can to right the ship," he said.

"We can't find any consistency until we get healthy. It's as simple as that. We've got to get healthy. When you're dealing with different guys being in and out of the lineup that frequently, it's damn near impossible to find a rhythm. That's just being real.

"But it's a little bit of everything right now. We're not executing. That team [Miami] played harder than us, executed better than us, more physical than us. We got outworked. If we keep on this train, it's not going to be good for us.

"We got to attack and be more competitive, but we need guys to step up and play better. 

"The reason we signed them is because we know what they can do. And so you got to come with that confidence each and every night and you got to fight through it. 

"Things not going your way, you can't ball up in the corner somewhere and go cry about it. You got to step up and try to see how you can best assist your team in being successful."

Miami faces the Phoenix Suns on Friday to end their five-game road trip. The Heat are 20-14 for the season and 11-8 on the road so far, putting them fourth in the Eastern Conference.

LeBron James said it had been a "rough" New Year's weekend after playing through illness as the Los Angeles Lakers suffered their second defeat in as many days on Sunday.

James played through flu-like symptoms as the Lakers suffered a contentious 108-106 defeat to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday, being denied a potential game-tying three-pointer with 3.3 seconds remaining.

On New Year's Eve, the New Orleans Pelicans dropped Los Angeles to 17-17 with a comprehensive 129-109 success at Smoothie King Center, Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram posting 26 points apiece.

James scored a game-high 34 and former Pelican Anthony Davis had 20 points and 10 rebounds as the Lakers suffered a seventh loss in nine games, leaving the league's all-time leading scorer to reflect on a difficult few days.

"We have to figure it out and get better, for sure," James said. "We're not a team that likes to play from behind. We've been in that position a lot this year.

"The flight last night did not help, obviously. We didn't get to the hotel last night until 3:45 a.m., so, it was a rough day trying to recalibrate and get ready for the game. 

"But I'm happy I was able to go out and just try to make some plays happen for my team."

A raucous New Orleans crowd was on its feet when Jose Alvarado made steals from both James and Davis during the second quarter, with his team up by 19 points at that stage.

The 25-year-old was delighted to give himself a highlight-reel moment against one of the all-time greats, saying: "LeBron, he's one of the greatest players to ever play this game and for me to be on the court, for me to get steals, for me to do anything… that's pretty amazing.

"When I get back to watch videos when I grow old, and they say that he is the best player to play this game, at least I got a video of him, with me getting a steal."

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