LeBron James gets 100% real on play-in tournament ‘sh*t’

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With the Los Angeles Lakers firmly entrenched in the qualifying tournament with a 36-28 record, LeBron James has spoken out directly against the draft.

Whoever came up with this nonsense should be fired, James said Sunday. But, anyway.

After an uninspiring 121-114 loss against the Toronto Raptors (27-38) at Staples Center – their third defeat in a row and sixth in seven games – the Lakers are now tied with the Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers (36-28) for fifth and seventh place in the Western Conference.

The Mavericks have an edge over the Lakers after beating them twice in a row last week. The Purple and Gold and Trail Blazers have split the first two games of their season series and will meet again Friday. This will be the second game of one of the Lakers’ four comebacks in the last 10 games.

The defending champions have come a long way in a short time. Last month, Markieff Morris refused to consider playing in the qualifying tournament.

We’re not worried about the play-in at all, Morris said after the win over the Utah Jazz on the 18th. April. I don’t even know when it will happen, so if it’s next month, it won’t affect us.

Three weeks later, after Wednesday’s terrible loss against the Washington Wizards, the Lakers’ big man, Anthony Davis, warned of falling behind in the team’s standings.

We are the masters of our own destiny. We have to start playing with a sense of desperation, Davis said. Even though we are currently in the playoffs, we are not far away from a playoff game. So we have to play with a sense of desperation.

LeBron and his teammates are in a slump at the worst possible time of the season. They have lost five of six games since Davis returned and are 0-2 since King returned to the team. LeBron left Sunday’s game with seven minutes left to play with a sore ankle and did not return.

The four-time MVP scored 19 points, grabbed seven rebounds and handed out six assists in 28 minutes before ending the game with a 6-0f-11 mark from the floor. His play on the floor was anything but sharp, however, and he was forced to handle the ball more than expected with Dennis Schroder out due to COVID-19 protocol. LeBron committed five turnovers, scored -4 points on the night, and showed some of the worst defense on the Lakers team.

Anthony Davis: This is the lowest level in recent history, at least in the last two years….. It really doesn’t get any lower than this ….. It feels like something is always with us.

Like LeBron, AD also lamented the loss of Dennis Schroder in the final minute of tonight’s game.

– michael corvo (@_michaelcorvo_) 3. May 2021

LeBron’s comments echo those of Mavericks star Luka Doncic and owner Mark Cuban, who criticized the qualifying tournament last month. After the loss against the Philadelphia 76ers, Doncic said he didn’t understand the concept.

You play 72 games to make the playoffs, then maybe lose two in a row and you’re out of the playoffs. So I don’t see the point.

LeBron and Cuban have one ironic thing in common in their opposition: Both initially supported the idea of a knockout tournament. Cuban voted to introduce it and made it clear that he supports it for the season without the changes made by COVID.

In a normal year, I’d be a play-in supporter. With a tight schedule, multiple covidatests a day disrupting sleep and supply, mental stress and more, we should have been 1-16+ play-in at worst, having lost 10 conference games https://t.co/9O69PEVV8M.

– Mark Cuban (@mcuban) April 14, 2021

In March 2020, LeBron also called for a play-in tournament to determine the No. 8 seed – but not for the No. 8 pick. 7.

Starting with Monday’s game against the Denver Nuggets, the Lakers must deal with chemistry, star power, Schroder’s absence and their shaky position in the standings after five games in a row against rival teams.

If I’m not 100 percent at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where we finish, LeBron James said.

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