West Notes: Lakers, LeBron James, Mavs, Luka Doncic, Spurs

Lakers

Star forward LeBron James said he is likely to play Saturday in the Lakers’ road game vs. the Spurs — the second such game in two nights.

“There’s a strong possibility I’ll play tomorrow,” James said Friday, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “I just sat out two weeks … I’m good”

On Friday, James returned after missing five games from an adductor injury, scoring 21 points in a Lakers victory. 

Coach Darvin Ham initially said James’ status was TBD about an hour and a half before tipoff. He was cleared by the Lakers 20 minutes later.

  • Meanwhile, Friday’s game also served as the first of a three-game suspension for guard Patrick Beverley, after he shoved Suns center Deandre Ayton to the court.

Mavericks

Star guard Luka Doncic said he believes his defense has improved this season from last.

“People are not going to admit it, but I think this year I’ve really taken a big step,” Doncic said, via Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News. “I don’t need people to believe; I believe in myself. I think I’ve been playing defense way better than the first four years and I think I’ve taken a huge step forward.”

Doncic has “fine-tuned” his diet to assist him in all areas, per Townsend.

“The start of last season for me was very bad,” Doncic said. “I was out of shape. It just wasn’t me. I didn’t play good. So I took that as a motivation for this season.”

  • Coach Jason Kidd said the Mavs have talked about changes to the starting lineup, per Dalton Trigg of SI.com. “That’s one of the questions I ask every day to the staff,” Kidd said.

Spurs

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