The 36-year-old superstar, who put up 18 points, 7 rebounds, and 10 assists in a 99-90 loss to Phoenix, looked out of shape and played far below the standard expected of him in a postseason contest. In 36 minutes of action, he only took 13 shots – 7 three-pointers – and was unusually passive attacking the rim.
But the story of the game wasn’t LeBron’s subpar performance – it’ll take time before James finds his rhythm after being out over a month due to a high ankle sprain. The story of the game was Chris Paul’s ‘dangerous‘ and ‘overly aggressive‘ foul on LeBron after his free throw attempt, followed by James’s Oscar-worthy performance that made sitting courtside worth the money. Here’s why.
LeBron was obviously shaken up after battling CP3 for a rebound on a missed free throw. But it seemed even he didn’t know where the pain was coming from. James first collapsed on the floor, holding his left shoulder. He then got up, walked to the sideline, fell to one knee, got back up, and then acquired a seemingly out-of-no-where limp on his way to the Lakers bench. All in all, the whole sequence looked overly dramatized, and fans called The King out for it.
LeBron so damn prepared for his second career … in acting.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) May 23, 2021
LeBron studying CP3’s shoulder injury in the first half so he could try and overshadow it in crunch time pic.twitter.com/NrWbBZ4TQr— Alex Roux (@arouxBTN) May 23, 2021
LeBron stans every time he hits the ground pic.twitter.com/qTTxvwy9sb— I Think You Should League Pass (@nbaleave) May 23, 2021
Nobody:— PMT memes (@PardonMyMeme) May 23, 2021
Was it a dirty play? Although arguable, I don’t think so. Was LeBon hurt? He probably was. But did he try to overstate his injury? No doubt about it, and the track record of his on-court theatrics backs it up – just last week, CJ McCollum called him out for one. LeBron himself refused to address Paul’s foul and the sequence that followed. Instead, he simply said he would be ready for tonight’s Game 2.
Look for him to put up an incredible bounce-back performance. Hopefully, without Oscar-worthy acting performances.