LeBron questions urgency as Lakers' playoff hopes take hit
Lebron James questioned the urgency and mindset of his team-mates after the Los Angeles Lakers' hopes of reaching the NBA playoffs were dealt another blow.
The Lakers – seeking their first postseason berth in six years – were beaten 128-115 by the New Orleans Pelicans, who rested All-Star Anthony Davis on Saturday.
With the result, the Lakers (29-30) dropped three-and-a-half games behind the Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs for the final two playoff spots in the Western Conference.
James – who joined the Lakers in the offseason and had 27 points and 12 assists in the defeat to the Pelicans – has not missed the playoffs since 2004-05, having featured in the past eight NBA Finals.
Final from NOLA. pic.twitter.com/bjc6YxlMzR— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) February 24, 2019
And the three-time NBA champion was left questioning the Lakers, telling reporters post-game: "How many know what's at stake if you've never been there.
"I'm playing devil's advocate, you know? It's kind of a fine line when you talk about that, because when you've never been there or know what it takes to actually shoot for something like that, sometimes you're afraid to get uncomfortable.
"So you got to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. So I'm not saying that's what we are as a whole. It kind of looks that way at times, that sometimes we're afraid to be uncomfortable and kind of get out of our comfort zone and kind of, you know, have that sense of urgency from the jump, and not be afraid to actually go out and fail to succeed. So, I mean we have, what? Twenty-three games left. We'll see what happens."
James added: "The last few years, everyone's so accustomed to the losses that I'm just not accustomed to.
"I'm not accustomed to it. I will never get comfortable with losing. So, losing game one to Houston [at home], it feels the same way as losing Game 59 in New Orleans to me. It's just how I'm built. That's who I am."
"I knew it was going to be very challenging," the 34-year-old continued. "Just because of the experience the roster had at that point and time. I knew it was going to be challenging from that sense, but I felt like we could still play better basketball.
"And we were doing that and obviously it sucks that my injury happened and [Lonzo Ball's] injury happened and so many of our injuries happened."