And at this stage in James' career, with three championships, eight consecutive NBA Finals appearances to his name and an equally burgeoning business and political profile off the court, James is a transcendent star.,Johnson said the Lakers didn't want to make the team like the Cleveland Cavaliers all over again for James.,James was just starting to find his footing with this new cast in Los Angeles.,Since his return from injury, the Lakers have a defensive rating of 109.6 when James is on the floor in four wins; the Lakers have a defensive rating of 113.1 when James is on the floor in the eight losses.,Most of the roster wasn't going to be back next year anyway, given the team's insistence on signing players to only one-year contracts to preserve salary-cap space for a second star this summer.

YOUNGSTOWN — Senior guard Melinda Trimmer scored in double figures for a seventh straight game in leading Youngstown State past Milwaukee, 64-58, in a Horizon League quarterfinal Wednesday night in front of 1,382 fans at the Beeghly Center.,LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James moved past Michael Jordan into fourth place on the NBA’s career scoring list Wednesday night.,James, who entered the NBA at 18 years old compared to 21 for Jordan, began the night averaging 27.1 points per game in 1,189 games over 16 seasons with Cleveland, Miami and the Lakers.,Just eight days ago, James moved into 10th place on the assists list, becoming the first player in league history to make the top 10 in points and assists.,James began the night averaging 27.0 points, 8.7 rebounds and 8.0 assists while hitting 51 percent of his shots and playing 35.7 minutes per game for the Lakers.

Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, with all due respect to local football fans following the Rams' Super Bowl defeat, thinks his team has some similarities to the NFL champion New England Patriots.,"I think early on they were facing a ton of adversity," Pelinka said on a conference call with reporters Friday to discuss his team's NBA trade deadline deals.,The Clippers' deal opened a roster spot, and Pelinka said the team is evaluating "a handful" of players to fill it -- either now or closer to the March 1 deadline to add a player and have him be playoff eligible.,Continuing the Patriots' parallel, Pelinka compared Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman to the players the Lakers added, noting how New England found its rhythm after the slot receiver returned from a four-game suspension, much the same way he hopes the Lakers find their stride now.,Pelinka confirmed a Los Angeles Times report that detailed Johnson's plan to meet the team in Philadelphia -- Pelinka said Johnson is attending a reunion celebrating Michigan State's 1979 NCAA championship as he makes his way west to east.

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LOS ANGELES — LeBron James’ return to action definitely wasn’t "back in no time," as he promised post-Christmas, but it was worth the wait for the Los Angeles Lakers.,In a thrilling 123-120 overtime victory over the local rival Los Angeles Clippers, James put his team ahead for the final time on a nerveless jump shot with just over a minute remaining to set up the win.,So much for the Lakers watching James’ playing time carefully as he came back from a groin strain sustained against the Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day.,At the time of the injury, James seemed mightily relieved that the groin strain he sustained was not more serious.,Back when James got hurt while reaching for a loose ball against the Warriors, a partnership with Davis was nothing more than a mere possibility, and one far more likely to happen later than sooner. read more

On a team featuring LeBron James, Rajon Rondo, Lonzo Ball and a core of young rising stars, the former Kansas sharp-shooter has no problem being a role player during his rookie year in the NBA.,When Los Angeles took him in the second round of June’s NBA Draft, Mykhailiuk thought he was joining a team that was up-and-coming and could contend in the next few years.,Charlotte Hornets guard Devonte’ Graham (4) looks to pass against Los Angeles Lakers guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, right, and guard Lance Stephenson in the second half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018.,Self wonders if Mykhailiuk’s minutes will drop when James, Rondo and Ball return from injury in the coming months, but it appears the rookie has a secured spot in Walton’s rotation.,The longtime KU coach has sent dozens of players to the NBA during his stint in Lawrence and said given player and personnel, Mykhailiuk has a lot to like about his young career so far.

With four-time MVP LeBron James still sidelined by a left groin strain, Kyle Kuzma scored 32 points to help the Lakers beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 138-128 in overtime.,Ball bounced back with five points, two rebounds and an assist in overtime.,Walton was impressed with his second-year point guard's overall effort, especially late in the game.,"For him to do that against Westbrook �� I'm sure a player he watched growing up as one of the great point guards in our league — not only to score those points, but a couple of big assists to Zu coming down the lane, a big-time rebound.,FADING DEFENSE

The Thunder, among the best defensive teams in the league during the first half of the season, have allowed an average of 130.2 points in their past six games. read more

Then we give up.Other Chargers storiesChargers Cover-Three defense looked more like Cover-NoneHelene Elliott columnizes off of the gameAntonio Gates wants to keep playingSaints winThe New Orleans Saints defeated the defending Super Bowl champ Philadelphia Eagles, 20-14, to advance to the NFC title game, where they will host the Rams next Sunday at noon on Fox.That means the conference championship will be a rematch of teams that met in Week 9, with the Saints beating the Rams, 45-35, also in New Orleans.I think that we match up really well, Rams offensive lineman Rodger Saffold said of the Saints.,The last time we played them, it came down to a game of just running out of time.At the end of the day, I think well have a better plan against them the second go-round, and youve got to be excited to be able to go back there and get another chance at those guys again.You can take a first look at the Rams-Saints matchup by clicking here.So, it will be Rams-Saints for the NFC title and Patriots-Chiefs for the AFC title.,So did the Cleveland Cavaliers.Things arent quite that bad, but the Lakers are 3-7 since LeBron James was injured and are tied with Utah for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot.Fans took to social media after the game to criticize coach Luke Walton.,Turns out it wasnt gold in their stockings, it was a lump of coal painted gold.Also check out:Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram take on expanded roles with LakersHigh school basketballOne thing that often gets overlooked in the discussion of the impending strike by the LAUSD teachers strike set to begin today is how the strike will impact high school sports.High school sports reporter and columnist Eric Sondheimer takes a look at that by using the upcoming Fairfax-Westchester game as an example.The strike will halt the sports seasons for thousands of City Section athletes, boys and girls.,Bartow seemed pretty unhappy with the team in the second half, becoming very animated in timeout huddles more than once.Kris Wilkes had 21 points and Prince Ali had 13 points for the Bruins, who lost their first Pac-12 game and are now 3-1 under Bartow.USC basketball (Kevin Porter Jr. suspended indefinitely)What seemed so promising turned out to be a disastrous time in Oregon for the USC mens basketball team.

Cedi Osman scored 20 points, Collin Sexton added 17 and the Cavaliers ended a 12-game losing streak with a 101-95 victory on Sunday night.,Tristan Thompson had 15 points and 14 rebounds, and Alec Burks had 17 points and 13 rebounds as the short-handed Cavaliers split the two-game season series by forcing the Lakers into a choppy game.,Kyle Kuzma had 29 points and nine rebounds for the Lakers, who have lost two straight and five of their past seven.,Burks and Osman hit 3-pointers to bookend the push, and Cleveland was able to sustain a 10-point margin going into the fourth by holding Los Angeles to 8-for-26 shooting.,SLOW START

The Lakers trailed 32-24 after the first quarter, the fifth time in the past six games they allowed at least 30 points in the opening period. read more

The Utah Jazz played without point guards Ricky Rubio, Dante Exum and Raul Neto because of injuries, and it was no big deal.,Mitchell had 33 points and a career-high nine assists, helping Utah beat the Los Angeles Lakers 113-95 on Friday night.,Utah broke the game open in the second quarter by holding Los Angeles without a field goal for nearly seven minutes.,Los Angeles trimmed Utah's lead to 76-66 in the third quarter after Beasley made back-to-back baskets and hit a pair of free throws as part of a 10-0 run.,Utah used a 14-5 run, capped by a layup from Gobert, to put it out of reach again and take a 95-73 lead with 7:03 left in the fourth quarter.

Kyle Kuzma scored a career-high 41 points in three quarters against his childhood team, joining some rarified company in the process.,Kuzma had 22 points in the third quarter, hitting four 3-pointers to get the crowd on its feet and scoring on consecutive goaltending calls.,Detroit's Blake Griffin, averaging a career-high 25.3 points per game, was held to 16.,Ball hit a 3-pointer and Kuzma had five points before James came on the court to cheer his teammates during a timeout.,Lakers: James (left groin strain) is set to be re-evaluated Friday and won't travel with the team for its game in Utah.