The first game of the playoffs couldn’t have gone much worse for the Los Angeles Lakers and LeBron James. Though the game was relatively close, losing to the eighth seed while not being able to hit 3s was not a good look for the team. LeBron has done a lot to help turn the Lakers from one of the worst teams in the NBA to a juggernaut in the Western Conference. However, his lackluster fourth quarter against the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night gave the haters a lot of ammo.
Paul Pierce says LeBron is disqualified from the GOAT debate if he loses in the first round
"I’ve already said he’s not a top five player of all time."
(🎥 ESPN First Take) pic.twitter.com/4MnUGshnLS
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) August 19, 2020
— ShowtimeForum (@ShowtimeForum) August 19, 2020
Some Laker fans have had a very hard time warming up to LeBron and disappointing playoff performances aren’t going to help win those fans over. Many fans couldn’t help but compare him to the late Kobe Bryant.
Lebron doesn’t have that killer instinct Mike and Kobe had
— Breelin® (@_Breelin) August 19, 2020
Lebron just doesn’t have the clutch gene that kobe and mj had. That is why he is the 3rd best for player ever
— Alex Banks (@alexbanks0) August 19, 2020
And one more thing:
Dont EVER tell me Bron is better than Kobe…
— Devon DeLeon (@DevonTDeLeon) August 19, 2020
Other fans suggested that LeBron isn’t clutch and not willing to put everything on the line in the fourth quarter.
Lebron James NEVER takes the big shots..
— Raider Cody (@RaiderCody) August 19, 2020
LeBron is the GOAT
The GOAT of disappearing in the 4th quarter during the playoffs.
— CJ (@Errickson_NFL) August 19, 2020
Now, it’s probably not fair to criticize LeBron so brutally. He had a historic game on Tuesday and it wasn’t his fault nobody on his team could make a shot late. Yes, it would be nice to see him take over the game late and play hero but it’s still early in the playoffs.
LeBron Won’t Guarantee ‘Playoff Mode’
Even before the playoffs started, the Lakers looked lost on the offensive end. LeBron has taken on the role of a facilitator this season so it’s not always his responsibility to hit shots. That said, they might need him to take over some games if they’re going to win a championship. Though, LeBron claims that he might not be able to activate “playoff mode.”
Lakers’ LeBron James on playoff atmosphere in the bubble: “I continue to say this is different. We’re in a bubble with no fans. But as far as me being locked in on the gameplan, that doesn’t change. Not one bit.” pic.twitter.com/2TM2jB6oKD
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) August 19, 2020
LeBron is usually unstoppable in the playoffs but he’s getting up there in age. Also, the bubble brings a number of other factors that could affect his play. Hopefully, the team can figure things out quickly.
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Anthony Davis Knows He Needs to Do More for LeBron
Speaking of disappearing in the fourth quarter, Anthony Davis was ineffective late in the game once again. He’s struggled late in games this year and it still appears to be a problem. Only two of his 28 points came in the fourth quarter against the Blazers. He knows he needs to play better.
“There’s always going to be critics when you’re playing with the best player in the game,” Davis said, per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. “My job is to relieve pressure off of [LeBron]. But I don’t listen to what anybody has to say about my play or the play of my teammates. I do have a responsibility to play at a high level and help make things easier for LeBron. We’re not panicking. We’re going to figure this thing out. Our shots will start to fall.”
The Lakers have been uncharacteristically bad on offense since the bubble started. Fortunately, Davis thinks the team is going to figure things out.
“We’re getting good looks. It’s just a matter of taking our time and knocking them down. That’s been our whole little M.O. in the restart, not being able to consistently knock down the three-ball. We shot like 15 percent tonight. We have to make sure that when the ball comes to us, we take our time and knock down the shot. That’s the only way we’re going to clear that paint. Guys are sinking in the paint and daring us to make shots, and right now we’re not doing that. It’s just making it tough on everybody.”