LeBron James knows he’ll have to be better if the Los Angeles Lakers want to close out their series with the Memphis Grizzlies.
James put up a rare playoff dud against the Grizzlies during a 116-99 loss on Wednesday night. The four-time MVP scored 15 points on 5-of-17 shooting, hitting just one of his nine 3-point attempts. James also accounted for a team-high five turnovers.
There are some questions lingering about James’ health and the idea that he could be running on fumes. The 38-year-old superstar returned just a few weeks ago from a serious foot injury and he also has a ton of miles on his legs after nearly two decades in the NBA, including multiple deep playoff runs. But James would not use fatigue, injury, or sickness as an excuse for his poor outing.
“I’m good,” James told reporters after the loss on April 26.
James added that he’s not sure how he’ll feel on Friday for a potential series-sealing Game 6 at home, although “The King” has never had a problem taking care of his body.
“It’s two days from now. I have no idea,” James said. “Obviously, I’ll take care of my body and try to get as much sleep as I can and see how fast my body can recover to get ready Friday. So, we’ll see.”
LeBron James on Loss: ‘I Was S**t’
James was coming off a monster Game 4 where he logged 45 minutes, notching 22 points and 20 rebounds. It was the first time he had accomplished the feat of collecting 20 rebounds and 20 points in a single game.
For as good as he was in Game 4, James made it clear that his play on Wednesday was unacceptable, promising a turnaround.
“Tonight I was s**t,” James said. “I’ll be better in Game 6.”
The Grizzlies have played James tough, often sending multiple defenders at him. But Lakers head coach Darvin Ham still feels like there are things they can do to give him more space to operate on the offensive end, much like they’ve done for James’ co-star, Anthony Davis, at times.
“We got plenty of stuff in our package to be able to give him different areas to be in attack mode from,” Ham said. “But Bron is one of the greatest to ever do it. We’ll definitely put our heads together and figure out the best plan of action.”
Anthony Davis Backs LeBron James After Tough Night
Davis has not been consistent during the first-round series, although he broke out with his best numbers so far during the Game 5 loss. He scored 31 points and collected 19 rebounds.
However, Davis had a miserable night in Game 2, scoring 13 points on 4-of-14 shooting and grabbing just nine rebounds. James had his back then and Davis tried to do the same for him.
“After Game 2, when I played like crap, I had my head down and he was telling me to keep my head up,” Davis said. “And I kind of just relayed that same message to him tonight. You have the most points scored ever, you’re the best basketball player to ever touch the court. So, it’s fine. He’ll be fine. He’ll adjust. He’ll get better.”
The Lakers are a 4.5-point favorite for the Game 6 matchup.