Playoffs the goal in LeBron's first season: Lakers' Buss

LeBron James protecting Lonzo Ball is a reflection of their parallel NBA lives

LeBron James protecting Lonzo Ball is a reflection of their parallel NBA lives

"Winning makes it more fun, but we haven't won anything yet", coach Luke Walton said.

Strictly a business decision. But Magic Johnson still had to put a competitive team around Lebron James. "He's passed up legends, made his mark and has three rings".

Unless you have been living under a rock since July, you are aware by now that LeBron James is a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Statistically, the odds favour James. His arrival should be good enough to take the Lakers, who finished with 35 wins past year, into the postseason.

Young talents such as Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and Kyle Kuzma will also benefit from his direction.

Not only does Golden State want to own the Western Conference for the foreseeable future, now it wants a large percentage of the Team USA roster.

James, meanwhile, has cautioned that the Lakers remain a work in progress. James bowed out after playing 17 minutes in the first half, and the second half was more about getting court time for the reserves than it was determining which team was best.

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GREAT COACHES: San Antonio's Gregg Popovich enters the season with 1,197 wins, fifth-most in National Basketball Association history - 13 behind Pat Riley and 24 behind Jerry Sloan. "We have to take our bumps and our bruises, there's going to be good times and bad times but, if we continue to sacrifice for each other, everything will fall into place".

"That was the idea. We haven't been in the playoffs for five years and that's something Dr. Buss wouldn't have stood for".

It didn't hurt when fans started chanting "MVP, MVP" during the first half and gave him a standing ovation when he hit a 30-footer at the buzzer to give the Lakers a halftime lead before posing for the crowd.

The early evidence of a James-inspired Lakers renewal have been encouraging. He missed Los Angeles' first four preseason games as he continues his recovery from offseason knee surgery to fix a torn left meniscus.

Lance Stephenson, another off-season recruit, is in no doubt about James' impact on the franchise. "His communications skills are incredible, and it's contagious and it helps the whole team".

The Lakers kick off the 2018-2019 season on the road against the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday before they take on the Houston Rockets in their home opener on October 20.

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