The Los Angeles Lakers lost their third straight game on Sunday. And if all that wasn’t bad enough, LeBron James left the game early with ankle soreness. While LeBron’s ankle might not be a major concern moving forward, the Lakers do have plenty to worry about in regards to their position in the standings.
Following the Los Angeles Lakers’ third loss in a row on Sunday, LeBron James made his feelings on the league’s new play-in tournament abundantly clear.
“Whoever came up with that shit needs to be fired,” he said after the game. “Whatever.”
LeBron James on the play-in tournament: "Whoever came up with that s— needs to be fired"
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) May 3, 2021
James left the court due to soreness in his right ankle before the end of the game, a 121-124 loss to the Toronto Raptors, and now the Lakers are in three-way tie with the Portland Trail Blazers and the Dallas Mavericks near the bottom of the Western Conference standings. It’s now possible that the Lakers could wind up in the play-in tournament, which might be why James had a sudden change of heart.
But James isn’t the only high profile player to come out against the tournament. Just last month, Luka Doncic also expressed his disapproval of the tournament. “I don’t understand the idea,” he said, “You play 72 games to get in the playoffs, then maybe you lose two in a row and you’re out of the playoffs I don’t see the point of that.” Like James, his team is facing the possibility of playing the play-in tournament.
The play-in tournament isn’t the only concern for the Lakers, however. Commenting on his injury on Sunday, James said that his ankle was “really good” for the first half but started to get “a little sore” and “a little tight” by halftime. “I don’t have too much level of concern, but I need to be healthy,” he added.
LeBron added that his right ankle has tightened at halftime the past two games. LeBron: “I don’t have too much level of concern, but I need to be healthy.”
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) May 3, 2021
The Lakers are set to face off against the Denver Nuggets on Monday, but it remains unclear if James will be able to play. “The plan is to see how I feel and go from there,” he said.
Back in 2018, when a play-in tournament was first proposed, LeBron was similarly critical.
“That’s wack,” LeBron said of the play-in tournament. “You’ve got to earn your spot to be in the postseason. No consolation for finishing last. That’s corny.”