LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers anticipate a stiff test on Christmas Day when they host Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks.
“They’re a very good team and Luka’s an exceptional talent in our league, a great talent in our league, obviously,” James said after practice Thursday (December 24). “We look forward to the challenge and just getting out there and being able to play on Christmas is always a treat, so (we) look forward to the match-up.”
The matchup against the Mavericks will allow James and the Lakers an opportunity to wipe out the sour taste of Tuesday’s season opener when they dropped a 116-109 decision to the Los Angeles Clippers on a night, they celebrated their NBA title with a ring ceremony. James led the Lakers with 22 points before sitting out much of the fourth quarter after tweaking an ankle.
However, he said the injury won’t sideline him against the Mavericks.
“I’ll be ready to go tomorrow on Christmas Day,” James said. “I’ve never missed a Christmas Day game, so I don’t plan on missing one tomorrow.”
James added that he always loved playing on Christmas Day but this year would be very different with the COVID-19 restrictions meaning there will be no party atmosphere.
Doncic and the Mavericks also failed their season-opening test Wednesday in a 106-102 loss at the Phoenix Suns. Doncic had 32 points on 11-of-26 shooting, missing all six of his 3-point attempts, with eight rebounds and five assists.
Dallas will be without center-forward Kristaps Porzingis, who is recovering from off-season knee surgery and isn’t expected back until January.
(Production: Tim Hart)