"LeBron closed them out over the final three minutes", Lakers head coach Luke Walton said of James. "Luke could care less about what's going on in the outside, we could as well", James told USA TODAY's LeBron Wire.
On Friday, ESPN broke details of the meeting in which Johnson was critical of Walton for his early-season decisions.
The Lakers narrowly won their eighth game 114-113 over the struggling Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday, temporarily alleviating the pressure on a team that has expectations from Johnson and team management to win sooner rather than later. The Lakers then had to survive a late-game scare from the Mavericks on Halloween as Dallas almost overcame a 19-point deficit.
Saturday was their first road win of the season against a team with a winning record against a Portland team riding a 3-game win streak and playing some of the best ball in the National Basketball Association over the opening stretch of the season. James and the rest of the team preached patience throughout the offseason, but we might already be seeing signals that Walton's Lakers tenure could be in the doubt if the Lakers don't like their direction with the coach.
Wojnarowski and McMenamin also are reporting that Johnson's aggressive tone in the meeting isn't unfamiliar to many members of the team's front office. "We know this is going to happen". A continued sideshow from LaVar Ball could only mean a few things: either James will ask the Lakers to trade Lonzo Ball in order to rid himself and the Lakers of LaVar, or perhaps they could just make him disappear for a while. Even a victory in just one of those two games would have given the team four wins in five games and had them trending in the right direction. "And we need everyone else who isn't having those opportunities that night to be supportive and cheering them on". While they did get the win, it did not come easy.
"The first and third quarters defensively we were pretty good and then we had two terrible quarters". It feels good knowing that our team is getting better.
"We know where we're going and we know what it takes to get there".
The headlines from Saturday will lead with the addition of Tyson Chandler.