MIAMI — LeBron James was closing in on an inglorious triple-double. At halftime of the Los Angeles Lakers' game against the Miami Heat on Friday night, James had 11 points, six rebounds and seven turnovers.
James checks the box score for turnovers first, and he was disappointed. Then he opened the third quarter with his eighth turnover.
"I was reckless," James said. "I was a quarterback who hadn’t gotten many reps with the first team."
Teammates Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins weren’t happy with James' sloppy play, and they let him know about it with the Lakers facing an eight-point halftime deficit.
"My teammates got on me," James said. "Told me to be myself and get my head out of my (expletive)."
LeBron says AD and Boogie pushed him to bounce back from 7 turnovers in the first half 💯 pic.twitter.com/Svvh6EkaGc
He did exactly that in the second half, helping the Lakers to a 113-110 victory against Miami. Instead of the rotten triple-double, he finished just shy of the impressive triple-double with 28 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds.
The Lakers improved to a Western Conference-best 23-3 and gave the Heat their first home loss of the season in 12 games.
"We were down (at halftime) because of me," James said. "In the second half, I got back to playing my game. I was able to make the right reads after that. … It’s a great defensive team we were playing against. Always has been especially with Spo (Miami coach Erik Spoelstra). You know they’re going to be exceptional on that side of the floor. I was making some wrong reads in the first half and in the second half I was able to learn from my mistakes and build from that."
Davis had no problem letting James know about his ineffective play in the first half when the Lakers were outscored by five points with James on court.
"We all have respect for each other and have the confidence to go up to whoever and try to get him going," Davis said. "The fact that he listens and everyone on the team listens and can accept criticism from our guys is what makes us so good."
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James scored 17 points with nine assists and the Lakers were plus-15 with James on the floor in the final two quarters.
Davis had 18 of his game-high 33 points in the second half and shot 4-of-9 on 3-pointers.
"We want to be able to win in any form, shape or fashion — close games, high-scoring games, low-scoring games, physical games, from the perimeter, sometimes we’re winning in the paint," James said. "Defensively, we always want to be in tune and have our game plan and execute our game plan."
James was in a good mood after the game. It was another win, and on Saturday, he planned to head to his home state of Ohio to watch his son LeBron James Jr. play against his alma mater when Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, California) takes on St. Vincent-St. Mary (Akron, Ohio) in Columbus.
James lamented he hasn't been able to see any of his son's games in person this season.
"If you ask me what's been the only sucky part of this season so far, it's that my son has played like six games into his freshmen year and I haven't seen one," James said. "I love what I do. I don't take this for granted. This is a dream come true. But missing LeBron Jr. and missing Bryce's first game the other day when we left for Orlando, missing my daughter at gymnastics, I understand it's the business. But it's sucks.
"For me to potentially have the opportunity to watch my son play (Saturday) and also versus my alma mater, it's a pretty surreal, come-full-circle unbelievable thing."
Follow Jeff Zillgitt on Twitter @JeffZillgitt.
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