During the All-Star break, LeBron James ensured fans that he has already activated playoff mode as the Lakers scramble to secure one of the final postseason spots in the West in the second half of the regular season.
He doesn’t really have much of a choice in the matter if he wants to avoid missing the playoffs for the first time since his second season in the NBA, and it’s a rather tall order given the Lakers’ current position. They’re currently No. 11 in the West, three games out of the final playoff spot, so they really can’t afford any missteps the rest of the way.
Unfortunately, L.A. dropped a must-win game against the lowly Grizzlies on Monday night, a loss that doesn’t bode well for the their prospects here on out. Despite logging a triple double, LeBron was just 8-for-23 from the field, including 0-for-4 from downtown, but in the aftermath, it was Rajon Rondo who caught the ire of a certain former Lakers legend.
James Worthy went right at Rondo in an appearance on Spectrum Sportsnet, questioning his mental focus against Memphis and giving a bleak outlook about the team’s postseason prospects.
“It just seems like there’s some type of virus going on with this team right now,” Worthy said. “Rondo, he’s not mentally in the game. I’ve seen him play over the years, I know when he’s on and when he’s not. He was just pretty much going through the motions tonight. Very detrimental to his team tonight out there, with the turnovers. There’s some type of virus that has seeped in, because I know this team is better than this, I know they can play better than this. They’re losing to the worst teams in the league and right now, Geet, I think the word that I feel as far as playoffs is very bleak.”
Indeed, the Lakers’ bench was virtually nonexistent in that contest. Rondo was part of that problem, scoring just two points while going 1-for-6 from the field with three turnovers and zero assists.
The Lakers’ woes go far beyond Rondo’s play. Further, despite past issues with coaches, Rondo has been almost universally beloved by his teammates, past and present. Still, Worthy is correct that Los Angeles will need more significant contributions from him if they want any chance of keeping their dwindling playoff hopes alive.