LeBron James was pretty bad in the Lakers’ Game 5 loss to the Grizzlies. And that’s not me summarizing his performance, that’s actually LeBron’s own words, if not a little less brutal.
After managing just 15 points in 37 minutes on Wednesday, LeBron was brutally honest about his play. In speaking postgame about whether Memphis’ defense had caused him issues this series, LeBron discussed both the series and tacked on an assessment of his play at the end.
“We just haven’t put two performances together,” LeBron said. “But we still have put three team efforts together to be up 3-2 and that’s what’s most important. It’s not about what AD and myself are doing. It’s about how we can win basketball games.
“Tonight I was s---. I’ll be better in Game 6.”
As harsh as it may be, LeBron is not wrong. He finished the night with 15 points on 5-17 shooting from the field and 1-9 shooting from the 3-point line. It’s only the 15th time in his career he’s had 15 points or fewer in the playoff. The 29.4% shooting from the field is the sixth-lowest field goal percentage of those games.
Factually, it was one of the worst playoff games of his career.
Fortunately for LeBron, he has one loud and important voice in his corner ready to lift him up heading back to Los Angeles for another closeout opportunity.
“After Game 2, when I played like crap, I had my head down and he was telling me to just keep my head up,” Anthony Davis said. “I’m just relaying that message to him tonight. He’s got the most points scored ever, he’s the greatest basketball player to ever touch the court, so he’ll be fine. He’ll adjust. He’ll get better, our team will get better and we’ll try to look at Friday as another opportunity to win the series.”
LeBron’s performance is not particularly surprising given how much he exerted to win Game 5 for the Lakers. In that contest, he played 46 minutes in the overtime victory. If you take that into account, LeBron looked a lot like a 38-year-old man with tired legs.
Hopefully, after playing a far less demanding 37 minutes in Game 5 and heading back home, LeBron will be able to get his legs under him for one more big push in Game 6. If he can’t get above the level he played in Game 5, though, it’s going to be tough to close out this series.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.