LeBron James has been the one shining light in a very disappointing season for the Los Angeles Lakers so far. So while the roster has received plenty of criticism from Lakers fans thanks to their poor play, James has been exempt from the hate because of his exceptional individual performances. However, that changed in the blowout loss against the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday night.
While LeBron may be putting up top stats, he has had his struggles in the clutch as of late. The game against the Pelicans didn't even reach a clutch situation though, the Lakers were down by a lot of points early in the game and never quite recovered to mount any sort of challenge against their rivals.
A flashpoint in the game occurred when LeBron James had a turnover with the Lakers down by 19 during the 3rd quarter. The King, who is usually elite at making the right passes, tried to play a cross-court pass to the corner but Talen Horton-Tucker didn't anticipate it and the ball just ended up going out of bounds untouched after leaving LeBron's hands. This led to a chorus of boos from the Lakers fans that were present at Crypto.com Arena for the game.
That was the 18th turnover of the night by the Los Angeles Lakers, who would end up notching a whopping 23 before the game ended. LeBron James himself was responsible for 7 of those while Russell Westbrook added another 7 in what ended up being a 28-point defeat for the LA team. The fans have withheld their boos, for the most part, this season, but this careless display had them enraged.
It is easier to understand if one takes into account that this was a must-win game for the Lakers in terms of their playoff hopes. New Orleans is now less than 3 games behind LA in the standings and could end up taking the 9th seed spot from them if they can string some wins together in the coming weeks.