LeBron James is not a happy man.
After his Los Angeles Lakers suffered their sixth loss in their last seven games on Sunday night, they dropped to the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference. The Lakers are now just a half-game away from falling to the No. 7 seed in the conference, which would force them to fight for their playoff lives in the newly-established NBA play-in tournament later this month.
With that harsh reality starting to set in, James aired out his frustrations on the poor NBA employee who came up with the idea for a play-in tournament this season. James even went as far as to say whoever pitched that idea should be fired. Interesting timing for those comments, to say the least.
The Lakers hit their lowest point of the season
After winning the NBA championship last year and adding some impressive pieces over the offseason, the Lakers were expected to cruise to the No. 1 seed in the West yet again. But injuries have plagued the reigning champs all season. James and Anthony Davis have missed a combined 56 games in 2021, so their return to the court last week triggered a sigh of relief from Lakers fans across the country.
Only, James and Davis haven’t revitalized the team as the Lakers hoped. LA has lost at home to the Sacramento Kings and the Toronto Raptors since both players returned to the starting lineup. The Lakers have now lost six of their last seven and seven of their last 10, pushing them back to the No. 6 seed in the conference.
After Sunday’s loss to the Raptors, James admitted it’s been a tough stretch for the Lakers, but he seemed confident they can turn things around.
“At the end of the day, we have five guys on the floor and we need to play Lakers basketball, and we haven’t done that in the last seven games no matter who’s been out on the floor,” James told reporters after the game. “It starts with us. We get the game plan, we need to go out and execute it. Definitely a challenging few weeks for us, and ultimately I think we’ll figure it out.”
James ridiculously calls for the firing of an NBA employee
James might be optimistic for the playoffs now that the Lakers are close to 100% healthy, but he clearly doesn’t want to fall into the NBA play-in tournament this year. After Sunday’s loss, a frustrated James made some timely comments with the Lakers a half-game out of the No. 7 seed.
“It doesn’t matter at the end of the day if I’m not 100% or close to 100%,” James said. “It doesn’t matter where we land. That’s my mindset. If we end up at sixth or fifth (seed in the West), or if we end up in the playoff, whatever that thing is.
“Whoever came up with that sh*t needs to be fired. But whatever.”
Interesting that we haven’t heard James criticize the new format until now, no?
If the Lakers do drop to the No. 7 seed in the West by the end of the regular season, they will play one game against the No. 8 seed. The winner of that game moves on to play the No. 2 seed in a seven-game series. The loser still has another chance to beat the winner of the 9/10 matchup and move on to play the No. 1 seed in the first round.
Confusing, we know.
The bottom line is James is afraid the Lakers could lose two straight games in the play-in tournament and be bounced from the playoffs before they even really begin. You’re not fooling anyone, LeBron.
James gets ripped to shreds for his salty comments
After James finished up his postgame press conference, his quote about the play-in tournament quickly went viral on social media. NBA reporters and personalities were quick to rip James for his salty comments.
The Lakers only have eight more games left in the regular season. It’s now or never for James if he doesn’t want to fight for his life in the play-in tournament.