Lakers president Magic Johnson admonished coach Luke Walton for slow start

LeBron James Luke Walton

James and the Lakers said they were focused on blocking out the drama surrounding Johnson's Tuesday meeting with Walton.

LeBron James was supposed to be a big boost for the Los Angeles Lakers, but so far the Lake Show's first season with LeBron hasn't really been what the team has hoped.

By doing this, Johnson is contradicting what he said in the offseason when he made it clear Walton would "have time" to work things out with the team's younger players, which is already a bad enough look. Two back-to-back wins followed before the team hit the road to take on San Antonio and Minnesota.

"Whenever we go on a losing streak there's going to be stories out there and distractions", Walton said. "We had a couple turnovers during that stretch that they converted quickly in transition. The only thing that matters to me is what goes on inside this locker room, both home and away". Those two guys are going to stay in the game until we finish winning, and if we're winning by a lot then everybody else gets to play. The Lakers then had to survive a late-game scare from the Mavericks on Halloween as Dallas almost overcame a 19-point deficit. While they can chalk up several of their close losses to randomness, there is no substitute for winning. "We kind of just let them have their way and that was the obvious time to tighten up - when we wasn't making shots". So you don't just come up here and get hot and beat Portland. The Lakers did make it hard on the Blazers dynamic backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum (30 points each), with their primary defenders, but the effort of their perimeter defense was reinforced by the play of JaVale McGee.

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The Lakers (4-5) led 97-77 with 9:16 remaining, but they had some nervous moments when Portland sliced it to five with 1:03 left.

CJ McCollum also finished with 30 points, though he also had a hard time hitting from outside, going 2-of-8 from three. Barea (15 points) and Dwight Powell (12) came off the bench to score in double figures. Rajon Rondo added 17 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in just under 26 minutes.

And the timeout might have been just what Portland needed to get back into the game.

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