LeBron James made more NBA history Monday night. But another career milestone was overshadowed by another dispiriting loss and more critical comments about his teammates.
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James moved into 10th place on the all-time assists list, becoming the only player in league history in the top 10 in both assists and points. However, the Los Angeles Lakers lost 110-105 to a Memphis Grizzlies team with the second-worst record in the Western Conference.
Afterwards, a frustrated James commented on the Lakers’ late-season push for the postseason and whether the noise around it is a “distraction” for his teammates.
“At this point, if you’re still allowing distractions to affect the way you play, this is the wrong franchise to be a part of and you should just come in and be like, ‘Listen, I can’t do this,’ ” James said. “Seriously, if you’re distracted by playoff pushes …”.
James then trailed off and stammered a bit, seemingly at a loss to put into words his frustration.
“Just come and do your job,” he continued. “We do our job at a high level. That’s not a distraction, that’s what you want. That’s what you want every game, you want to feel like you’re fighting for something.”.
The comments came two nights after the Lakers lost in New Orleans to a Pelicans squad without star forward Anthony Davis. After that loss, James questioned the team’s sense of urgency.
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“The last few years, everyone’s so accustomed to the losses that I’m just not accustomed to,” James said. “I’m not accustomed to it. I would never get comfortable with losing.”.
The Lakers have lost four of their last five games and 10 of their last 14. They’ve fallen to 29-31 and tied with the Minnesota Timberwolves for 10th place in the Western Conference. They’re three games behind the eighth-place San Antonio Spurs and two behind the Sacramento Kings in ninth.
They return to Los Angeles for five of their next six, but four of the home games are against teams currently in playoff position. Then they head back out onto the road for a five-game trip.
Follow Matt Eppers on Twitter @meppers_.