The Los Angeles Lakers‘ season continues to unravel after they dropped a fifth straight game, pushing them further below the .500 mark. The growing level of frustration is becoming more evident as the Lakers move further away from performing like a championship-contending team. After suffering a discouraging loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Christmas Day, LeBron James voiced a brutally candid message to his teammates.
Lakers fall to a five-game losing streak
The Lakers entered Christmas Day hoping to finally take a step forward, but it quickly became more of the same on-court struggles.
Despite missing Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving due to the health and safety protocols, the Nets dominated the contest offensively. James Harden put together one of his best performances of the season, posting a triple-double with 36 points, 10 assists, and 10 rebounds.
Meanwhile, Patty Mills added to his career-best campaign by posting seven assists and a career-high 34 points behind eight 3-pointers. Brooklyn shot 48.3% from the floor and hit 43.8% from beyond the arc.
Los Angeles trailed throughout the contest, allowing the deficit to expand to as much as 23 points. James nearly anchored a late-game comeback behind his game-high 39 points, but the Lakers’ defensive issues became too much to overcome. It marked James’ fourth straight 30-point performance and seventh overall in December.
Following the loss, the 17-time All-Star voiced a stern message directed toward his teammates.
A frustrated LeBron James drops a dose of reality for the Lakers: ‘Nobody is going to feel sorry for you’
After another crushing loss, the scrutiny focused even more on the Lakers playing well below expectations.
Los Angeles’ struggles stem from a lack of roster continuity and chemistry, and injuries and COVID-19 issues have only compounded the problem. All that led James to deliver a blunt statement concerning the sentiment toward the franchise.
“Well, I’m not a very patient person, obviously,” James said via Lakers Nation. “Under the circumstances, obviously, without our head coach. Tonight, we finally got a couple of our key guys back, but we’re still missing a few. You just try to stay even keel. Obviously, this losing streak isn’t something that none of us want, but nobody is going to feel sorry for you.
“Nobody’s going to feel sorry for our record. … Everybody besides I think Golden State [Warriors] and Phoenix [Suns]. Everybody has guys out. When you get your opportunity, when you get your number called, just make the most of it and go out and play. Play our system. It’s even challenging for some of the new guys because they haven’t been in the system long enough exactly when we want to execute, but tonight they just played hard. DC came in and played extremely hard.”
Beyond the Lakers being one of the most disliked teams, James’ comments spew the truth. No other team or opposing players feel bad for their ongoing struggles. Instead, their internal issues and shorthanded roster encourage opponents to take advantage.
Los Angeles isn’t wallowing in self-pity, but James’ remarks underline the team’s need to shift things into gear. His play backs his stance as he’s averaging 31.6 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 5.2 assists over the five-game losing streak.
If the Lakers turn it around, it will have to be much more than James’ Herculean efforts.
Los Angeles needs massive change to lift them forward
The Lakers headed into the 2021-22 campaign hoping that their busy offseason would lead to a special season, but it has been anything but that.
Los Angeles looks nowhere near a team that can vie for an NBA title. In fact, its present outlook makes even a playoff berth a question mark. Significant injuries have marred the team, and the roster hasn’t shown consistent growth with respect to on-court chemistry or sustained effort defensively.
James has maintained his elite level of play through it all, generating more disappointment about the franchise and potentially letting his efforts go to waste without contending for an NBA title. The bottom line is that the Lakers are spiraling, and change is needed to push them in the right direction.