Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James expressed his anger toward teammate Talen Horton-Tucker on Monday night for what he perceived as a selfish play by the guard.
The Lakers ended up losing to the Toronto Raptors at home, 114-103, continuing a frustrating stretch over the past few months in which the Lakers have dropped 20 of their last 28 games.
The 37-year-old James has never shied away from directing angry remarks toward teammates for on-court mistakes.
In this particular case, it can simply be chalked up to momentary frustration connected to the Lakers’ on-court problems. That’s because James has described Horton-Tucker as a player who’s earned his trust late in close games.
With Lakers forward Anthony Davis still rehabilitating his latest injury, James has taken on the burden of trying to lead the team to the postseason.
In the Raptors’ loss, James finished the evening by leading the Lakers with 30 points. Horton-Tucker had the second-most points for the team with 20 on the night.
The challenge of getting to the postseason is a far cry from the goals of James and the Lakers at the start of this season.
With guard Russell Westbrook joining the team during the offseason, the Lakers were perceived as one of the favorites to capture the 2022 NBA title. With a 29-39 record after Monday’s loss, simply having the opportunity to reach the playoffs is the team’s main focus.
James’ frustration was also likely magnified by the challenge facing the Lakers through the end of the month. They’ll start a four-game road trip on Wednesday night against the Minnesota Timberwolves and play seven of their next eight games away from home.