Things just aren't getting any better for the Los Angeles Lakers, who are fighting for the playoffs but going in the wrong direction. And LeBron James continues to make it clear he's had enough of the excuses.
When asked about possible distractions after the Lakers' 110-105 road loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday, James gave a brutally honest response.
"At this point, if you are still allowing distractions to affect the way you play, then this is the wrong franchise to be a part of," James said. "And you should just come and say, 'I can't do this.'
"Like, seriously. If you're distracted by playoff pushes, out of all the stuff that's been talked about this year, nah. Just come and do your job. That's what you want. That's what you want every game. You want to feel like you're fighting for something."
The Lakers (29-31) have lost four of five and dropped to 11th in the Western Conference. Only the top eight make the playoffs.
Their lone win in that stretch was a come-from-behind basketball miracle of sorts at home over the Houston Rockets. After that game, Lakers coach Luke Walton asked, "If we go one this road trip and drop two straight, then what does this game really mean?"
That's precisely what happened, as the Lakers also lost to the Anthony Davis-less New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday.
James finished with 24 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists, but shot just 8-of-23 from the field vs. the Grizzlies. Brandon Ingram led the Lakers with a game-high 32 points, and Kyle Kuzma scored 22. But the bench totaled just seven points and much like James' run with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Lakers have been fairly useless when he's off the floor.
Mike Conley paced the Grizzlies with 30 points. Jonas Valanciunas, acquired from the Toronto Raptors at the trade deadline, tacked on 20 points and 13 boards.