The glory of the Lakers remains only in Winning Time (Time to Win), HBO’s fictional series about the birth of the Los Angeles myth with Magic Johnson. On the court, the team that LeBron James filled with veterans has been the protagonist of one of the most notorious failures in the NBA this season. The Phoenix Suns of Devin Booker and Chris Paul have become the Angelenos’ executioners for the second consecutive year. Last year, they were eliminated in the first round of the postseason. They have run out of chances to reach the playoffs with 48 losses in 79 games. You have to go back to January to find their last winning streak, with only four games. James, who is still carrying the team, witnessed the setback sidelined on the bench with a left ankle injury. The official funeral of the team at home will be this Friday against Oklahoma in the Crypto arena.
The Lakers’ 18th title and LeBron’s fifth ring will have to wait. This is the fourth time James has missed a postseason in his nearly 20-year career. This has been his best season as a scorer in 16 years, averaging 30.3 points per game. His recent displays of power did little to silence critics. In March he had two games scoring more than 50 points, against Golden State and against the DC Wizards, but it was injuries that have marked his year. He has missed 23 games so far, including Tuesday’s loss to Phoenix. He has not even been the one who has missed the field the most. Center Anthony Davis, who is continually mocked by fans as the glass man, missed 39 games. “Our goal was to win a championship, but injuries got in the way,” Davis said Tuesday.
The season has drawn heavy criticism from other legends who wore yellow and purple. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has criticized him for his behavior off the court, where James has spent a lot of time in the 2021-2022 campaign. Especially for comments that he has made on social networks downplaying the pandemic and the coronavirus health crisis. “He should be ashamed,” said the legendary player in early April, the only one who surpasses the current number 6 of the Lakers in the list of all-time leading scorers in the NBA. James is still 1,300 points behind the legendary center.
Criticism of the figures
Earvin Magic Johnson has been another critic of the decisions that led to the Los Angeles debacle, noting that the team “doesn’t try hard enough or have a sense of urgency to win.” The figure of the player is experiencing a renaissance thanks to the fictional series based on the book by the journalist from Sports IllustratedJeff Pearlman, and for the documentary They Call Me Magic (They call me Magic) from Apple TV. This week, he blamed Lebron for foiling plans for Chicago Bulls star DeMar DeRozan to move to the West Coast team. “DeRozan wanted to play for the Lakers … but when Russell [Westbrook] and LeBron started talking, that derailed the deals and the team got Westbrook,” the iconic Hall of Fame point guard said on ESPN.
In fans’ minds, Westbrook’s arrival on the team will go down in the annals of poor decisions made during the season. Signed from the Wizards on a $44 million-for-the-year deal, the veteran’s arrival meant the team shed rising players Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Montrezl Harrell. The plans of James and the coach, Frank Vogel (whose continuity on the bench is in the air), depended on the trident formed by the star along with Westbrook and Davis.
But the so-called Big 3 was a flop thanks to injuries. He only coincided on the court in 21 games. The chemistry between James and Davis, basic to achieving the championship in 2020, has also evaporated. This year they recorded 11 wins and 11 losses playing together. Westbrook, who was the leading scorer in Tuesday’s loss to the Suns with 28 points, has been booed at home in several games and nicknamed “westbrick” (brick). The verdict is that his style hasn’t meshed with the Lakers. The future of the Big 3 is uncertain, but forecasts ensure that they will not be seen together again in the next season.
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