Former NBA player criticizes LeBron James as he fails to make impact during crunch time: “I think offensively LeBron James sort of disappeared”

Los Angeles Lakers v Denver Nuggets
LA Lakers forward LeBron James

After the LA Lakers blew a 17-point fourth-quarter lead in losing 116-115 to the Indiana Pacers on Monday, analyst Tim Legler pinned the loss on LeBron James.

"He missed some very makeable easy shots that could have stemmed this run by the Indiana Pacers," Legler, a former NBA player, said on ESPN's 'First Take.' "So, I'm gonna start with LeBron, because I think offensively he sort of disappeared during that stretch."

When it comes to crunch time, NBA teams tend to lean on their star players. Although James had 21 points, it was on 8-for-22 shooting, including 3-for-10 from 3-point range. James also only shot three free throws the entire night. That, combined with 10 outside shots, showed that he was not being aggressive and driving to the basket, which is the strength of his game.

Legler said the Lakers had enough stars to close out the home game.

"You've got three star players," Legler said. "Somebody needs to make an important basket when you have to stop this run, and then you need to go secure the ball off the defensive glass."

Between LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook, the Lakers had enough to hold onto a big lead late.

Entering Monday, the Lakers (7-12) had won five games during a promising six-game stretch where they looked like they were getting their season back on track. Los Angeles will be in action again at home against the Portland Trail Blazers (11-9), who have lost six of their eight games, at 10:30pm EST on Wednesday night.

The Pacers have potential Rookie of The Year

In the Pacers' win against the Lakers, they got 23 points from rookie Bennedict Mathurin. The No. 6 pick in June out of Arizona has been a bright spot for the surprise Pacers (12-8), who have won seven of nine games. He is averaging 19.1 points per game.

The Pacers shooting guard made headlines in June when he said that he doesn’t think anyone is better than him in a Washington Post story published before the draft. He was quoted as saying that LeBron James is going to have to show that he is better than him. Although this was just a player being confident, some people took it as him being cocky.

“I don’t think anybody is better than me. LeBron is going to have to show me he’s better than me,” Mathurin said.
LeBron vs MathurinLeBron Mathurin21 PTS 23 PTS7 REB 8 REB3 3P 3 3PBenn is undefeated against LeBron.

In their first matchup, the young Mathurin got the better of the legendary James. Mathurin had 23 points and eight rebounds in 32 minutes off the bench, while LBJ had 21 points, seven rebounds and three assists in 36 minutes.

The two will get a second chance on Feb. 2. Will the veteran James get a measure of revenge?

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Edited by Joseph Schiefelbein
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