The Los Angeles Lakers suffered a heartbreaking defeat on Monday, blowing a 17-point fourth-quarter lead and losing 116-115 to the Indiana Pacers on a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by rookie Andrew Nembhard.
LeBron James has to shoulder some of the blame, as he played poorly down the stretch and finished just 8-of-22 from the field. In the fourth quarter, he continually walked the ball upcourt and took the air out of L.A.’s offense.
So far this season, his play has been uneven, and it is unclear whether he is finally showing signs of decline or whether he is simply taking his time to ramp things up.
Kendrick Perkins, a former teammate of his and a current NBA analyst for ESPN, had some harsh words for the four-time MVP. In fact, he said James isn’t the Lakers’ best player anymore and that he needs to surrender the burden of the offense to Anthony Davis.
Via Lakers Daily:
“Former NBA champion Kendrick Perkins believes Anthony Davis is the best player on the Los Angeles Lakers right now, and he wants to see LeBron James give the big man the ‘keys to the car.’
“‘I gotta go with LeBron James on this one,’ Perkins said when discussing who’s to blame for L.A.’s heartbreaking loss to the Indiana Pacers on Monday. ‘… We talk about, “Who is the best player on the Lakers right now?” And that is Anthony Marshon Davis. … And so when I look at last night collapse, I’m thinking to myself, “How in the hell did Anthony Davis only shoot two shots? Why didn’t LeBron James take control and go to the point guard position and force-feed Anthony Davis?” … I think it’s time that LeBron James — not halfway, but all the way — give him the keys to the car.'”
Davis led Los Angeles with 25 points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots. He is coming off an incredible string of four consecutive games with at least 35 points and 15 rebounds.
Indiana threw lots of double teams at Davis, but he responded by notching six assists, which showed his all-around ability.