Portland Trail Blazers spoil debut for his new side as they triumph 128-119 in NBA opener
Losing start at the Los Angeles Lakers for LeBron James
LeBron James began his Los Angeles Lakers era with two rim-rattling dunks on Thursday, but the 14-time all star couldn't reverse a string of losing debut games with new NBA teams.
James scored a game-high 26 points and had 12 rebounds but the Portland Trail Blazers spoiled his Lakers debut with a 128-119 victory at the Moda Center arena.
The basketball world has been waiting months to see the 33-year-old James in the purple and gold jersey and when the moment arrived he delivered.
James electrified the Portland crowd with back-to-back monster slams for his first points as a Laker, but ultimately he couldn't prevent them from dropping their 16th straight game to Portland dating back to March 2014.
"It's not instant oatmeal. It's not that fast," James said. "It takes some time to get that chemistry where you can just close your eyes and know exactly where guys are."
The Lakers will play their first home game on Saturday against the Houston Rockets at Staples Center.
James opted out of his contract with Cleveland in the off-season and agreed to a four-year deal worth $154 million with the Lakers.
Against Portland, James shot nine-of-16 from the field in 37 minutes of playing time. Josh Hart added 20 points for the Lakers.
"I liked our fight to get back into the game when we were down double digits. I liked the way we competed at times. I liked the way we shared the ball as well," James said. "Those were all positive.
"There's some things that we could do better. We can rebound a lot better, we had some turnovers, which I expected. Us just trying to get a feel for one another."
Said Lakers coach Luke Walton, "Glad he's on our team. He's pretty good at the game of basketball."