LeBron James came to the defence of Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton after his team earned a big 114-110 road victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday.
Walton has been at the centre of reports indicating president Magic Johnson reprimanded him for the Lakers' slow start after losing five of the first seven games, though the coach later said he was not concerned about his job security and has meetings with management on a regular basis.
When asked about how it feels to win amid drama surrounding Walton, James said the 38-year-old always puts the team, who are now 4-5 after back-to-back victories, in a position to be successful.
"I mean, it's great to win, period," James told reporters, via ESPN. "Listen, coaching staff put us in a position to win, and it's up to us to go up and execute.
"Luke can care less about what's going on outside. We could as well. I'm the last person to ask about scrutiny or anything of that nature. So none of that stuff matters to me. The only thing that matters to me is what goes on inside this locker room, both home and away."
The Lakers are under pressure after signing James during the offseason, but they are still trying to figure out their starting line-up and how to mesh on the court with the veterans and young core.
Based on how the Lakers played against the Blazers, Walton is optimistic the team is growing and developing in the right direction.
"It just shows that what we're doing is working," Walton said of beating the Blazers for the first time since March 2014 on the back of 28 points and seven assists from James.
"It's tough to get a win in Portland [even] when they don't have a good team. When they got the team that they have right now, it's even more challenging. So you don't just come up here and get hot and beat Portland.
"You have to play a solid, solid game that starts with defense, and I thought we did that and got ourselves a big enough lead that even when Dame [Lillard] and CJ [McCollum] got cooking at the end, we were able to hold them off. And then, obviously, having LeBron there at the end to kind of close down those final few minutes was big, as well."
James added: "Great to snap that [16-game losing streak against Portland]. They're a very good team, obviously. To beat Portland, you can't just come in and win without playing really hard and really well."
The Lakers are at home to the Toronto Raptors (8-1) on Sunday.
|Kuzma leads USA past Team World|
|Barkley to Davis: Don´t ruin your reputation as one of the nicest guys in the world|
|Westbrook extends triple-double streak in Thunder´s loss to Pelicans|
|Pelicans star Davis suffers shoulder injury|
|Team LeBron v Team Giannis by the numbers|
|Kerr fined $25k for ´verbally abusing´ official in Warriors´ loss to Trail Blazers|
|Pippen says LeBron lacks Jordan´s ´clutch gene´|
|There isn´t one guy who can stop me – Antetokounmpo|
|Crisis averted - Leaping Embiid avoids collision with actress King|
|The fire came out! - Curry, Durant share Kerr´s frustration after Warriors coach ejected|
|Giannis posts triple-double to lead Bucks, Warriors fall to Blazers|
|Wade compares Doncic to LeBron|
|Westbrook endorses Thunder team-mate George for MVP|
|Embiid fined $25k for criticising officials after 76ers loss|
|Kanter joins Trail Blazers|
|Embiid: The referees f****** sucked|
|LeBron´s Lakers fall to Hawks, Celtics edge 76ers|
|LeBron James tops list of NBA´s highest-paid players|
|You either make it or you don´t - LeBron not worried about playoffs after Lakers loss|
|NBA finds no wrongdoing by Lakers amid Simmons talk|
|Russell Westbrook´s triple-double streak by the numbers|
|Spurs forward Pau Gasol denies asking for trade|
|Michael Jordan: Six titles harder than Westbrook and Harden streaks|
|Westbrook savours breaking long-standing triple-double record|
|Harden motivated by wins, not scoring streak|
|Knicks fall to Cavs, set franchise record with 17th straight loss|
|Westbrook sets NBA record with 10 consecutive triple-doubles|
|Raptors guard VanVleet out at least three weeks with thumb injury|
|NBA to open investigation into Simmons-Johnson meeting request|
|Warriors starting five as good as it gets - Wade|
|Curry feels retiring Wade has ´a lot more in the tank´|
|Embiid and 76ers send message in win over Lakers, Warriors edge Heat|
|LeBron James not surprised by high-flying 76ers|
|´Oh s***, it caught me off guard´ - Embiid on Simmons´ three-point attempt|
|Sixers star Simmons wants to meet with Magic Johnson in off-season|
|Celtics star Irving ´day-to-day´ with strained right knee|
|Matthews signs with Pacers|
|Magic Johnson wants Lakers to rally after failed Davis trade|
|Westbrook extends triple-double streak, Thunder down Rockets|
|Irving suffers knee sprain in Celtics-Clippers clash|
|Clippers waive Michael Beasley two days after acquiring him|
|Wantaway Davis was preparing to sit out season prior to Pelicans return|
|Harrison Barnes on mid-game Kings trade: ´I didn´t know it was going to happen like that´|
|What else is he supposed to do? - Durant not surprised to be on Team LeBron again|
|Davis happy to be back amid boos and cheers in New Orleans|
|Harris enjoys winning debut with 76ers, Bucks stay hot|
|Anthony Davis booed and cheered in Pelicans return|
|Harris hoping for ´long-term partnership´ with 76ers|
|Brown sad to see Fultz leave 76ers|
|They ain´t gotta go through me - LeBron explains big trades in the East|
|Boston Celtics confident Irving ´marriage´ will still go ahead|
|Irving excited by LeBron´s All-Star selections|
|Rondo´s buzzer-beater lifts Lakers past Celtics|
|Magic believe ´sky´s the limit´ for Fultz|
|Raptors acquire Gasol from Grizzlies|
|Davis to return to Pelicans´ lineup, will play out rest of season|
|LeBron, Antetokounmpo complete first trade in draft history|
|Sixers trade former top pick Fultz to Magic|
|LeBron drafts Durant, Davis for All-Star Game|
|LeBron James not pushing for Lakers trades|
|Davis stays at Pelicans as NBA trade deadline passes|
|Rockets acquire Shumpert, move Knight in three-team deal|
|Curry understands Durant frustration after free agency rant|
|Durant tells media to ´grow up´ in heated exchange over free agency rumours|
|Giannis shows MVP credentials, Warriors crush Spurs|
|LeBron critical of Mavs´ trade move amid Lakers-Pelicans stalemate|
|Sixers acquire Harris from Clippers in huge trade|
|Kerr says Durant ´just doesn´t feel like talking right now´ amid Knicks links|
|Strasbourg edged out as Hapoel make BCL history|
|Forbes lists Knicks as most valuable NBA franchise|