Lakers president Magic Johnson admonished coach Luke Walton for slow start

LeBron James and Luka Doncic

LeBron James and Luka Doncic

Remember, it was Ball who called out Walton last season and said he had lost the Lakers' locker room, and although Walton brushed off the comments with some humor, Ball's comments echoed through the media for weeks.

The Lakers still have plenty of time to right the ship this season, and many of their players are still young and developing.

"I thought we had some look inside that we didn't finish", said Stotts of the third quarter. The team is set to play a back-to-back against two of the hottest teams in the National Basketball Association, and they should be focusing on that, not Walton's job security. With Saturday's win, they now sit at 4-5.

"The first and third quarters defensively we were pretty good and then we had two very bad quarters. To beat Portland, you can't just come in and win without playing really hard and really well". "Great teammate, obviously that was a few years ago but he impacts the game at the defensive end". We just weren't sharp enough. This is something that we do all the time. 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.

With much of the roster still intact form last year's team that advanced to the championship round, Cleveland sputtered to 0-6 start and then fired their coach.

The Lakers nearly blew a big point lead late but managed to hold on for the win. McGee also had five blocked shots, making it his first game with at least 15 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks since January 14, 2012, with Washington.

Rose also made a key block on a Jazz three-point attempt with two seconds left to ice the win.

James finished with 29 points for the Lakers who were up 111-98 with 3:42 to go before the Mavericks went on a 15-2 run to pull even with seven seconds left.

Evan Turner and Zach Collins combined to score 21 points of the bench. Rajon Rondo added 17 points, 10 rebounds and six assists in just under 26 minutes. Los Angeles had 11 blocks to Portland's five.

James described snapping the 16-game losing streak to Portland as the Lakers getting "over the hump".

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