After nearly two weeks on the road, the Los Angeles Lakers are headed back from home the holidays and everyone in the locker room is excited about it — so much so that even a fierce competitor like LeBron James isn’t ready to talk about their next game just yet.
Following the Lakers’ 111-104 loss to the No. 1 seed Milwaukee Bucks on Friday, James said that it’s not the game against the Denver Nuggets or LA Clippers he’s looking forward to; it’s his time with his family (via Spectrum SportsNet):
“I cannot wait to get back home to my kids and my wife, and my family. We’ll worry about Sunday when Sunday gets here, but I feel like we’ve been on the road all year to be honest.”
Once James returns home, he’s going to try not to think about basketball — something he admitted will be hard, especially with his alma mater, St. Vincent-St. Mary, in town — and take a well-deserved breather:
“Mentally, I’ll try to get away from the game as much as I can. And once Saturday evening starts to roll around, I’ll lock back in on Denver on Sunday. But I think we all need a little break from it.”
James has been adamant about not wanting to take any healthy days off of work this season, so his actual off-days are crucial, as it’s the only time the 34-year-old can let his body and mind recover in a space he’s comfortable in.
But even a young and spry player like Anthony Davis is ready to go home. In his postgame interview, Davis, who is nursing an ankle injury, told reporters that he’s looking forward to laying his head in his own bed:
“Being on the road for so long... It feels good to go back home for a couple days and play some home games, and sleep in our beds and get back on our schedule. It’s always tough coming east. Three-hour difference. A game at seven is really four at home ...”
The Lakers will be in Los Angeles for the next six days, and during that time they’ll play the Nuggets and Clippers at home. As impressive as the Lakers have been on the road this season, they’ve been slightly more impressive at home, losing just two games on their home floor.
Last month, Dwight Howard talked about the pride the Lakers take in playing in front of the home crowd at Staples Center and why the first game back from a long road trip is extra special.
“Every time we’re on the road, we look forward to coming back home and playing here at the Staples Center,” Howard said. “It’s all we talk about when we get in our huddle before the game. We’re back home.
“We look forward to getting up and playing in front of our home crowd. They give us an energy like no other. So we feed off them, and I just try to do my part in getting the crowd going, getting them hyped, getting them ready to go and fired up.”
On the heels of their first back-to-back losses of the regular season, they’ll need all the energy they can get from the fans, and the Lakers faithful will surely be happy to welcome the home.