LeBron James is on the verge of being knock out of the first round for the first time in his whole career. James and the Los Angeles Lakers are down 3-2 in the best of the seven series against the Phoenix Suns. In the series, it was the first time that James lost back-to-back games in the first round. These losses are due to their star player Anthony Davis getting an injury in game four and missed all of game five.
In game five, the Lakers did not play well against the Suns and lost the game by 30 points. The part of the game that was the most talked-about is when James left the game early. Coach Frank Vogel stated in his post-game interview, “In terms of LeBron going in the back, LeBron had to start his treatment. It doesn’t do any good for him to sit over there without getting worked on or beginning the treatment as soon as possible to help him get ready for Game 6.”
While the coach defends James for exiting the game early, I do not buy that. James came to the Lakers with two goals that he had in mind. The first goal was to win a championship, which James accomplished last year in the bubble.
The second goal was to bring back the Laker culture to the league’s highest standard and be a leader of the franchise. Last season, James proved to be the best leader during the NBA playoffs. His ability to bring his teammates together and focus on the bubble was historical. James and his teammates were the best team in the bubble to stand and cheer each other on during games.
But at the end of game five, when James walked off the court early, I did not see the same leader as I did in the bubble. During the game, James show frustration towards his entire team due to them not playing at the highest level. Of course, James is going to be upset and disappointed by his team for not performing at the highest level. Especially players like Dennis Schoder and KCP, who were starters for the team and scored no points. James played his heart out to allow his team to be competitive, but he got barely any help from his team. Even though James’s teammates underperformed in the game, it makes no excuse to walk off the court early.
James is suppose to be the primary leader for the Lakers, just like Kobe Bryant, Jerry West, and other Laker Legend. When he left the game early, doesn’t that show how your leader does not care about the entire team. The leader of the team should be out there with their team the entire game, even if they’re getting blown out by the other team. Especially being a leader on one of the most historic franchises in the NBA, he needs to step up his leadership towards his teammates for game 6.
It is uncertain if Davis is going to return at all with the Lakers for game 6. But tonight, I am not concern about James’ ability to play at a high level. James is known for his “zero dark” mentality when it comes down to playoff time. So fans should expect James to come out with that lock-in attitude and a historic performance out of him.
Tonight in game six, I am looking for James to show how Laker legends are suppose to lead their teams. James tonight needs to bring that Magic or Kobe leadership to his entire team. I want to see him communicating with teammates on part they can build on or improve during the game. Tonight is not about the Lakers winning or James’ end-game box score. The game tonight is all about James’ legacy of being a leader for the Lakers.
Does James want to show again how he does not care about his team? Or does he show what a leader is all about just like he did in the bubble. These questions are going to be in the minds of NBA fans especially Laker nation tonight. Game 6 between the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns tips off at 10 p.m. on TNT.