LeBron James 'ready to go' for Christmas Day clash

By Sacha Pisani 25 December 2020 15
LeBron James 'ready to go' for Christmas Day clash

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James said he will be "ready to go" for the Christmas Day clash with the Dallas Mavericks.

James rolled his left ankle in the Lakers' season-opening 116-109 NBA loss to city rivals the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center on Tuesday.

The 35-year-old posted 22 points in only 28 minutes for the defending champions after turning his ankle in the second half.

"I'll be ready to go tomorrow [Friday] on Christmas Day," James told reporters on Thursday.

"I've never missed a Christmas Day game, and I don't plan on missing one tomorrow."

James (361) has the most career points on Christmas Day among active players, ahead of Kevin Durant (270), Russell Westbrook (241), James Harden (208) and Carmelo Anthony (186). 

All-time, James ranks third and he needs 17 points to surpass Oscar Robertson (377) for second place and 35 to leapfrog Kobe Bryant (395) for first place. 

James, who helped the Lakers snap their 10-year title drought in 2019-20, is also second for most career rebounds among active players on Christmas, behind former team-mate Dwight Howard (114) with 108.

The four-time champion and MVP James (97) tops another category, assists. He is clear of Westbrook (82), Harden (58), ex-team-mate Rajon Rondo (55) and Stephen Curry (48) among active players. 

James is set to make his 14th appearance on Christmas Day. He has a 9-4 win-loss record while averaging 25.8 points, 7.7 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game. The veteran is one win behind Dwyane Wade's record.

"People have opened their gifts. Everyone is excited. It's a day of giving for a lot of us," James said of playing on Christmas Day. "And then being at Staples Center, I've gotten the opportunity to play here on Christmas as a Laker and also as an opponent. It's just a beautiful feeling being here.

"But it's not the same without the Laker faithful, without the fans, without celebrity row, without the bright lights. It's just a totally different feeling. It's just strictly basketball, which is fine. 

"But our game is entertainment as well. And when you're out there, you hope to entertain some people live as well. But we have to do it. Hopefully we know we're making a mark while they're watching the game."

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