Lakers slip to defeat despite James’ efforts, Wembanyama returns as Spurs continue poor form

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Joined: Nov 2016

LeBron James recorded 34 points and eight assists, but his stellar efforts were not enough as the LA Lakers slipped to a 129-109 defeat at the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday night.

The 39-year-old has continued to lead the way for his franchise this season but the Lakers are currently experiencing a tough run of results, with seven defeats in their last nine games.

The Lakers suffered a close defeat at the Minnesota Timberwolves the previous night and James said the lack of turnaround time played a factor on Sunday.

“We have to figure it out and get better, for sure,” James said. “We’re not one 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,” added James, who played through flu-like symptoms on Saturday and Sunday. “We didn’t get to the hotel last night until 3:45 (am).

“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.”

It was a slice of revenge for the Pelicans after they were knocked out at the semi-final stage of the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament by the Lakers last month.

Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram led the way for the Pelicans with 26 points each, but it was Jose Alvarado who stole the show with steals from James and Anthony Davis.

“LeBron, that’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,” Alvarado said.

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

Meanwhile, Victor Wembanyama returned from injury but the San Antonio Spurs’ poor run of form continued with a 134-101 defeat against the Boston Celtics.

However, the NBA rookie returned to action on Sunday and scored 21 points and recorded seven rebounds but the Spurs have now lost seven out of their last eight games.

Elsewhere, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored a game-high 24 points as the Oklahoma City Thunder secured a 124-108 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

Kevin Durant dropped 31 points as the Phoenix Suns beat the Orlando Magic 112-107 while the Sacramento Kings enjoyed a comfortable 123-92 victory against the Memphis Grizzlies.

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