Los Angeles Lakers
LeBron James admits Lakers are not on championship level
Los Angeles Lakers

LeBron James admits Lakers are not on championship level

Updated Feb. 9, 2022 9:04 p.m. ET

Tuesday night was not the Los Angeles Lakers' night.

L.A. was blown out at home by the Milwaukee Bucks, and the final score –– 131-116 –– is not indicative of how uncompetitive the game was, considering the Lakers were down 14 at the end of the first quarter, 22 at half and 30 at one point in the third. 

After the game, LeBron James kept it real about where his team is in relation to the Bucks when asked if the loss taught him something about his Lakers. 


"We ain't on their level," he said.

When asked if he thinks the Lakers can reach Milwaukee's level, James followed up with a flat, "No."

It was a humbling night for everyone on the Lakers side, and it didn't help that Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo rubbed it in with 44 points (on 17-for-20 shooting), 14 rebounds, eight assists and two blocks. 

In two games against the Lakers this season, Antetokounmpo is averaging 45.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists on 81.4% shooting. 

Think he takes the matchup against LeBron and Anthony Davis to heart?

Still, despite Giannis' dominance, the conversation after the game and Wednesday morning was about how frail the Lakers looked compared to the defending champion Bucks. 

James put up 27 points, eight rebounds and five assists but was a game-high minus-25 in his 35 minutes of court time. Davis finished with a respectable 22 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three blocks but was clearly outplayed by Antetokounmpo. 

Russell Westbrook finished with 10 points (on 3-for-11 shooting), 10 rebounds, five assists and four turnovers, adding to his string of subpar performances. 

At one point, Westbrook was seen consoling James and Davis on the bench when the game neared its conclusion. After the game, he shared with the media his message to his teammates.

It seems safe to say things are not going well in Tinseltown.

Where do the Lakers go after James' postgame admission?

For Shannon Sharpe, it's anywhere but the NBA Finals.

"LeBron just said what I've been saying the last two months," Sharpe said of James' comments after the game. "Some things you just can't overcome. What do you want LeBron to do, lie? Everybody can see it. They're not Milwaukee, they're not the Suns, they're not Golden State, they're not Memphis, they're not Philly, they're not Chicago. And he just said it."

There are a host of numbers that point to the Lakers' struggles this season.

They rank 29th in free-throw percentage, at 72.6%. They're committing 14.7 turnovers per game, fifth-most in the NBA. They sit 22nd in offensive rating at 108.7 and 17th in defensive rating at 110.2.

L.A. is 26th in second-chance points per game (11.4), it's allowing 14.0 fast-break points per game (tied for third-most in the NBA), and it's giving up 50.0 points in the paint per game (fifth-most in the NBA).

The Lakers have also used 27 different starting lineups in 55 games.

L.A. sits at 26-29 on the season, ninth in the Western Conference. The Lakers are 9-16 (.360) on the road and 2-7 against divisional opponents. In fact, the Lakers are a half-game behind the LA Clippers (27-29), who have been without Paul George for 30 of their 56 games and without Kawhi Leonard for the entire season.

Chris Broussard said Wednesday that he thinks James' comments were his way of putting pressure on the Lakers to make changes ahead of the trade deadline. 

"I've been covering the NBA for 26 years, and I have rarely, if ever, seen an admission like that," he said.

Chris Broussard: 'LeBron and Lakers have realized they can't win with Westbrook' I FIRST THINGS FIRST

Chris Broussard theorizes that LeBron James' postgame quotes were a public play to trade Russell Westbrook, who has yet to find his footing with the Lakers.

The Lakers are 5-10 in their past 15. Three of their next four are against Golden State, Utah and the Clippers.

In other words, that kitchen that LeBron James and the Lakers find themselves in is about to go from boiling to scorching.


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