No one can deny LeBron James’ greatness on the court. Well, except Skip Bayless.
After The Undisputed host exchanged a war of words with Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard, he shifted his trolling to James and the Lakers ahead of Game 2. Bayless harped on LeBron’s struggles inside the NBA bubble.
“Damian Lillard doesn’t have any problem with a shooting background. He’s shooting from 40 feet,” Bayless said. “And all of the sudden, Gary Trent Jr. has turned in to somebody we’ve never seen before. Well he seems to be OK with it. Everybody’s OK with it except the Lakers.”
Bayless went on to list several opportunities 'The King' had to either tie or give the Lakers a lead in Game 1, but he failed countlessly while Portland went on a 19-6 run.
"I’m gonna remind everyone one more time. With seven minutes left in Game 1 against Portland on a neutral floor, their up 6 points and they have the ball in LeBron’s hands at that point, so you tell me, should you not bring that home? Should it not be home, James. Yes," Bayless said.
With 4:24 left in fourth quarter and the Lakers trailing by 2, James, a 75 percent career free throw shooter in the 4th quarter, headed to the free throw line and missed both.
“You miss both of them,” Bayless said. “Cannot do it at that point.”
At 3:22, he missed another layup that would have put the Lakers up 2. Then again, with 32 seconds left, LeBron missed an open three-pointer wide left. The eighth-seeded Blazers pulled past the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers for a 100-93 win over in Game 1.
In an interview with Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports, LeBron suggested there were things going on behind-the-scenes that people did not know about. He said Lakers fans shouldn’t worry about the team’s lack of chemistry.
“It has nothing to do with our team,” he said. “One thing about our team is, we have zero lack of chemistry and camaraderie. That’s the one thing our team will always strive and always be about."
He continued, "Our group has been as close as ever before because of the situation. Even more, since we’re here. The Lake Show and Laker Nation don’t worry about it. It has nothing to do with the ball club. We’re great.”
This isn't the first time LeBron has eluded to something like this. He did it in Cleveland.
And Bayless was not having it with LeBron’s excuse of “intricate” problems taking place. He fired back at the three-time NBA champion's comments and felt he wasn't excepting blame.
“You are obviously the face of the franchise, you’re obviously the leader of the team, and you are quite obviously the best player on this basketball team, that is the No. 1 seed, and in some betting houses the favorite to win it all,” Bayless said. “So if you just casually drop that yeah we got an intricate problem, intricate’s a pretty serious word."
While LeBron, and even Anthony Davis, will be under a microscope as Game 2 gets underway, Bayless expects the Lakers to re-assert their dominance on Thursday against the Trail Blazers. Tip off is at 6 p.m. here on NBCS Northwest.
“I expect the Lakers to reassert their dominance tonight because their better than Portland, you know it and I know it,” Bayless said. “But it starts with these two. It starts with number 1, LeBron, and number 2 “All Done” (Anthony Davis). He cannot be all done tonight. And if they will come out in the first quarter and pose their superior will on Damian and CJ especially, you got to start with those two, then you should be off to the races. You should win this game by 10 or 15 points to me.”
[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts Channing Frye and Dan Sheldon!]