The Memphis Grizzlies avoided elimination on Wednesday night and easily beat the Los Angeles Lakers, 116-99.
It was a tough game for LA in many ways and they didn’t look like their usual selves.
That was especially true for LeBron James, who scored just 15 points and 10 rebounds for the evening, far below what he’s been doing lately.
Skip Bayless was among the many who were shocked by James.
“Just when I least expected it, you got ‘shell of himself’ LeBron James,” Bayless said on Thursday’s Undisputed.
"Just when I least expected it, you got 'shell of himself' LeBron James."
— @RealSkipBayless on LeBron in Lakers G5 loss pic.twitter.com/1iRoamUgR8
— UNDISPUTED (@undisputed) April 27, 2023
Bayless wasn’t sure what was causing the lacking effort from James.
Maybe he didn’t have enough time between games, maybe he had just “hit a wall.”
Whatever the reason, this wasn’t what people wanted or expected from the team’s best player.
And it now puts them in a very tricky spot.
If they win their next game against Memphis on Friday, the series is over and the Lakers advance.
If they lose, they will be forced into a Game 7 back in Memphis and that is a very scary prospect.
At 38 years old, James needs all the rest he can get before the next series so a win on Friday is obviously ideal.
But that will be next to impossible if the plays as he did on Wednesday.
The good news for fans of the team is that James is well aware of how poorly he played and promised to do better in a post-game press conference.
The hope is that he can deliver on that promise and that Anthony Davis – who was sensational in Game 5 – will have another powerful performance too.
If these two players can both have stellar nights, the series will be over.
But if James is still lacking, the Lakers are likely losing.NEXT: Anthony Davis Makes Promise Before Crucial Game 6