LOS ANGELES, Calif. (AP) - Near the end what LeBron called the most important stretch of his regular season career, LeBron was able briefly to savor something many thought would be nearly impossible after 12 matches.
Los Angeles Lakers have a winning regular-season record.
The Lakers beat the Phoenix Suns on Friday night 121-107 to secure a finish above.500. It was a fantasy in November, when Los Angeles started the season with a 2-10 mark.
I told Anthony Davis, 'Can you imagine we will finish the season above.500 despite everything that's happened this season? James said that they had turned the situation around during the regular season. James said: 'There is still basketball to play, but knowing that we will finish a few wins above.500 in the regular season is pretty cool.
Sportradar reports that the Lakers (42-49) are the only team to have started 2-10 and finished with a winning record since 1981. The New Jersey Nets achieved this feat twice (1981-82 and 2004-05), while the Chicago Bulls surpassed the odds in 2004 2005.
Los Angeles managed to achieve its turnaround even though James and Davis were in the same line-up for only 35 matches.
James missed 27 matches, including four weeks from late February until late March due to right foot pain.
Davis missed 26 games due to a stress injury in his right foot. Since February 1, he has only missed two games.
Since James' return to the lineup, on March 26, the Lakers have won 5 of their 7 games. The Lakers didn't reach.500 until they beat Minnesota by 12 points on March 31 in the 77th match of the season.
We are playing very well. They did an incredible job while I was away. James said, "I just try to play my part in the games I've played since returning."
The Lakers' roster was reset at the trade deadline. The Lakers acquired D'Angelo Russell, Malik Beasley and Jarrett Vanderbilt, as well as center Mo Bamba. They also traded Russell Westbrook.
The Lakers' 17-9 mark since the February 9th trade deadline is second best in the Western Conference.
It's a really good group. Davis stated that there is so much at stake, and so many things on the line, that we can't help but improve. Our practice has been games, and we have been able figure things out on the spot.
Russell led the Lakers in scoring with 24 points, while Beasley added 21 to the victory over the Suns. Austin Reaves has also emerged as a key player. He averages 17.8 points per game since the All-Star Break.
In the final regular-season matchup against the Utah Jazz on Sunday, the Lakers' primary goal is to avoid the play-in round and get into the top six. They are currently seventh in the West, and they need help.
The Lakers can finish anywhere from fifth to ninth on the final day.
Darvin Ham is primarily concerned with getting his team some rest after a long, hard season. Sunday's match will be the fourth they have played in six days. A play-in game could take place on Tuesday or even Wednesday.
Ham said, 'We must do everything we can to ensure we have enough energy, rest and care for our players. We also need to take care of their physical problems.' I think that the stakes are so high, it will really energize our team.
James spent Saturday in Portland, Oregon, watching his son Bronny participate in the Nike Hoops Summit. James laughed when asked why he took the trip, and said that it was a great way to sum up the past month.
You know, there's no rest in the world for the tired?