With 25 games left in the season, NBA star LeBron James is facing a bit of an uphill climb. It's the first time, since the NBA All-Star break, that James has been part of an under .500 team for a while. It's also been five seasons since the Lakers were a playoff squad. Just three games back, the team is within striking distance of one of the final few spots, depending on how well they play. Still, there have been reports the Lakers are "privately concerned" with James' overall health. James recently delivered a message to the Lakers' fanbase about what to expect for the rest of this season. That includes thoughts on how healthy he is as well as mentality, and what the team needs to do.

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LeBron's thoughts on Lakers' season ahead

Now that the NBA All-Star break is over, LeBron James and his teammates were back to work in preparation for the next game on their schedule. They'll take on the league's leading scorer James Harden and the Houston Rockets. Fans are hoping that James and company will be playing with some sort of urgency as they'll want to slip past the teams ahead of them for a playoff spot. As of right now, they're just three games back, but fans wonder how desperate they'll be to get there.

After his team's practice, James spoke about the matters at hand. That includes his health, and the push to try to make the playoffs, which is an urgent matter in King James' mind.

One of the concerns that fans recently learned of were reports about LeBron's health status after his return from a groin injury. While those reports indicated the team was keeping a close eye on his status going forward, LeBron said he's ready to go. He assured fans that his level of playoff intensity is "activated" a bit earlier than it would have been in previous seasons.

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Fans who saw him play in the All-Star game saw a typical LeBron having fun on the court and making highlight reel plays. He's been on teams high up in the standings for most of the past decade. That's not the case this season as of All-Star break.

Lebron also replied to a question about the team's mental state possibly lingering after those Lakers trade rumors that were swirling for weeks. The Lakers attempted to trade for Anthony Davis just ahead of the deadline but failed. A total of five or six current roster members were mentioned in a possible deal which New Orleans didn't accept.

He said "That stuff doesn't matter. You control what you can control and what you can't control, you don't worry about." He believes the team had a great practice and is ready to push forward.

LeBron was asked what it would mean to Lakers fans to get back into the postseason after missing it for the past five years. James assured everyone that it's been the team's goal since the start of the season and remains the goal. He added, "We're working our tails off to get there."

King James was also asked what it will take to make the playoffs.

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"We gotta win games...it starts with us not turning the ball over and making shots at the free throw line," LeBron James said. It should be interesting to see how the team fares on Thursday at home, and over their remaining 25 games.

Lakers' upcoming schedule, playoff chances

The Lakers' current record sits at 28-29 overall. As of this report, the team is three games behind the No. 8 team, the in-state rival Los Angeles Clippers (32-27). The Sacramento Kings (30-27) are a spot above the Lakers in the fight for a spot. Teams like Minnesota, Dallas, and the New Orleans Pelicans are also looking like they could fight their way in. However, that Pelicans team features Anthony Davis, a player who seems ready to move on. He's also a player the Lakers desperately wanted ahead of the trade deadline.

All that said, LeBron James knows the matter at hand, as do other veterans. His younger teammates have seen some degree of success at other levels in terms of getting to playoff games, championship rounds, or in the March Madness brackets. They should be fully ready to contribute based on being hungry to get into the playoffs for their first trip.

James said he likes his team's chances against any team they might draw in the playoffs. LeBron told reporters that the Lakers team is ready to play their best to "try to get into the playoffs and ride the momentum of how we played to get there."

LeBron and the LA Lakers have slim chances based on betting odds. They're +240 underdogs to make the postseason at some sports books. Still, it's hard to bet against King James. They'll return to action with a game Thursday night at 10:30 p.m. Eastern Time versus the Houston Rockets.