LeBron James hasn't missed an NBA postseason in 13 straight years, and he doesn't intend to break that streak in 2019.
At 28–29, the Lakers are three games out of the playoff picture with 25 regular season games remaining and have the fourth-hardest remaining schedule in the league. For James, that means he'll have to step up if the Lakers are to see the playoffs.
"It's been activated," James said of his playoff intensity after practice on Wednesday. "My level of intensity has to be [high], unfortunately for me, because I don't like to do it at such an early time."
James, who has been used to resting with a playoff berth secure toward the end of the regular season, realizes the Lakers' situation this year is different after the team struggled to keep pace with the rest of the Western Conference during his absence.
James missed 18 games with a groin injury this season.
"Obviously we would have loved to have success when I was out, but we didn't so this is where we [are] right now," James said. "I'm going to be a little bit different a little bit earlier than I would like to be in previous years."
"I'm all about being uncomfortable," he added. "I love being uncomfortable. I fall in love with being uncomfortable. This is another uncomfortable thing for me and I love it."
The Lakers have missed the playoffs for five consecutive seasons, their longest postseason drought in franchise history.
"That's the job, that's our goal," James said of making the playoffs. "It's been our goal from the beginning of the season and it's still our goal. We're working our tails off to get there."
The Lakers play the Houston Rockets on Thursday at 10:30 p.m. ET.