Thanks to a game-closing 13-1 run, the league-worst New York Knicks further compounded the Los Angeles Lakers’ woes with a narrow 124-123 victory on Sunday, as reserve forward Mario Hezonja blocked LeBron James’ attempt at a potential game-winning shot. According to ESPN, James made just four out of 15 shot attempts in the fourth quarter, with his 11 misses representing the most shots he has missed in a quarter since his NBA career started in 2003.
That quarter notwithstanding, James has continued to put up superstar-level numbers for the Lakers, despite their ongoing struggles. But it’s often been said that numbers don’t tell the entire story, and as Hall of Fame point guard Walt “Clyde” Frazier sees it, LeBron has reached a point this season where it doesn’t feel like he is part of the Lakers. Per The Sporting News, this observation was made by the NBA legend and MSG Network color commentator during a timeout in Sunday’s Knicks vs. Lakers game.
“This type of behavior is not — when you’re the face of the NBA, I think you should be more a part of your team no matter what is going on,” said Frazier, who won two NBA championships with the Knicks in the 1970s.
“In the public, you have to be a part of the team. In the locker room, you’re not, but you have to (show) that type of togetherness in public, and right now we see he doesn’t really care.”
Aside from taking potshots at LeBron James’ perceived apathy, Frazier called out Lakers head coach Luke Walton and made reference to the rampant rumors surrounding his lack of job security.
“So that’s why this man is rumored to be — this is his last season as Lakers coach.”
— New York Post (@nypost) March 17, 2019
According to Bleacher Report, Frazier’s comments about James are not unprecedented, as his “indifference” to what’s going on with the Lakers has been pointed out frequently over the past few weeks. The publication cited the Lakers’ February 27 game against the New Orleans Pelicans, where James seemed to turn his back on the Lakers’ huddle during a timeout, as a notable example of the four-time MVP’s alleged indifference.
Meanwhile, ESPN noted that James spoke to reporters after the Lakers’ loss to the Knicks, where he expressed his frustration at how his team was not able to deliver the goods when it mattered the most, and how he wasn’t able to score the basket that would have won the game for Los Angeles. He did, however, add that there’s “no difference” between the Knicks’ NBA-worst 14-56 record and that of the Lakers, given that both teams are “on the outside looking in.”
While still mathematically possible, the Lakers have an extremely slim chance of making the playoffs, as their 31-39 record puts them nine games behind the No. 8-seeded Los Angeles Clippers (40-30).