Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James didn’t mince his words after his team’s 127-113 home loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday. It was the fourth straight loss and the ninth in the last 11 games for the Lakers, who were eliminated from play-in position in the Western Conference standings.
James, who had 32 points, seven assists, five rebounds and five steals in Friday’s loss, was asked if he thinks his team can replicate the success and intensity of its in-season championship run. The 39-year-old was blunt with his answer.
“I mean, it was just two games. Small selection,” James said after Friday’s loss to Memphis. “Everyone is so excited about Vegas and keeps talking about Vegas. There were two games. We took care of business, which was the in-season tournament. We have played. We won it. But those were literally just two games.”
“To be honest, I don’t think that far back in time. We just suck right now.”
Lakers head coach Darvin Ham brushed off the team’s recent disappointing performance after the game, saying he was “tired of people living and dying” no matter the outcome.
As of Friday night, the Lakers had their 23rd-ranked offense of the season N.B.A, scored 111.8 points per 100 possessions. Meanwhile, the defense, which ranked fourth in the league after the All-Star break last season, has slipped to twelfth.
It’s easy to see why James would be frustrated considering both he and Anthony Davis were relatively healthy and played at an All-NBA level all season. Ham made several changes to the starting lineup, most notably sending Austin Reaves to the bench at the start of the season.
In his 21st season, James is averaging 25 points, seven rebounds and seven assists on 40% 3-point shooting, his highest mark in a decade. When asked how he could help alleviate the Lakers’ woes, James said it was simply “business as usual.”
“I come to work, punch the clock every day and stay positive,” James said Friday evening. “Go out there and try to lead the way on the floor and inspire on the floor. That’s what I do.”