LeBron James and the LA Lakers kept their win streak going Wednesday night thanks to the play of an unlikely hero. Down three in the final seconds, a play was run for Matt Ryan, who nailed a corner 3 as time expired to send the game into overtime.
From there, the Lakers went on to win by a final score of 120-117. Along with his big shot down the stretch, Ryan posted 11 points and converted on three of his nine attempts from beyond the arc.
The morning after this OT thriller, Skip Bayless went on FS1's "Skip and Shannon: Undisputed" to give his thoughts on the matchup. He proceeded to take a shot at LeBron James, saying he was bailed out by a role player following a poor performance:
"I never thought I would see the night that somebody named Matt Ryan, and not that Matt Ryan, but the NBA's Matt Ryan, that that Matt Ryan would take LeBron off the hook for choking his guts out."
"He was choking his guts out. Once again, right on cue. I keep telling you, LeBron does not have the closer gene."
In the 10 minutes he played in the fourth quarter of Wednesday's game against the Pelicans, James scored only four points and shot only 1 of 5 from the floor.
LeBron James and the LA Lakers are finally getting the help they need
Heading into this season, all the talk around the Lakers was that they put a cast of players around LeBron James who don't complement him. The All-Star forward is known for his high IQ and ability to find open shooters. Meanwhile, LA opened the year on track to become the worst 3-point shooting team in league history.
Star players aren't going to have it every night. Which is why Skip Bayless shouldn't be judging LeBron's ability to close a game on a Wednesday night just three weeks into the season.
Looking through history, there are plenty of examples of role players coming up big for stars. Most notably, when Michael Jordan found Steve Kerr for an open 3-pointer in the playoffs during their time with the Chicago Bulls.
LeBron was having an off night, and his teammates managed to help bail out the team and steal the win. What stands out from this game is that the Lakers are finally getting help in a key area of need.
For LeBron James to be at his best, he needs proper shooting around him. If Matt Ryan can continue to be a reliable shooter from deep, it will help the future Hall of Famer maximize his game.